Monday, September 29, 2008

Geology gives Gore cover for outrageous coal comments

It's hard to tell when you cross into Tennessee from Virginia or Kentucky. The terrain looks the same; in fact you might not know you were crossing a state line without signage indicating so.

But where geography is similar, geology is vastly different. Kentucky and Virginia (and West Virginia and Pennsylvania, too) have been blessed with an abundance of a natural resource called coal. God has given this area of the country a tool by which people can earn decent livings, communities can prosper, and millions of his children can have creature comforts made possible by the burning of coal and the production of electricity.

Tennessee doesn't have the coal reserves of its neighbors to the north and sister states to the northeast. Families and communities in the Volunteer State don't depend on coal mining like they do elsewhere.

Because coal is such an insignificant part of Tennessee's economy, that gives former Vice President and Tennessee Sen. Al Gore plenty of cover with which to attack coal and coal mining in the name of cutting atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Gore's outrageous comments about how America must immediately cease burning coal for heating and electricity production may play well in the liberal enclaves where he utters them, but we think it's funny that Gore - and his ideological brother in arms Joe Biden -- won't come to the coalfields to pontificate on the evils of coal.

If Gore feels so strongly about this, he needs to come to places like Pikeville or Norton or Beckley and make those statements. Biden should campaign on that issue for his ticket with B. Hussein Obama in Hazard or Grundy or Logan and see how many votes he wins.

Coal feeds, clothes and educates people in the mountains. It provides them homes and cars and material goods. It pays for individual medical care and public works projects. In short, it fuels much of the economic activity in an impoverished part of the world. We shudder to think what the Central Appalachians would be like, from an economic standpoint, without the jobs and the income and the economic stimulus provided by coal mining.

Coal also allows all Kentuckians, not just those in the mountains, to enjoy some of the lowest electricity rates in the country. That's no small matter in this day and age of rising energy prices.

If Gore hailed from a coal-rich state, we seriously doubt if he'd be making his asinine comments.

And we can't let this commentary on Gore pass without chiding those liberal Kentucky flatlanders who continually rail against the coal mining industry. We wonder what they have against mountain folks that they want their economic well-being to suffer so. Perhaps these flatlanders don't realize just how important eastern Kentucky is to the economy of the Bluegrass region, and how Lexington's economy would dry up without coal money being spent in Fayette County.

In the name of saving us, liberals are actually trying to destroy us and our way of life. Take the coal industry out of Appalachia, and how many more anti-poverty programs would the left have to institute to combat the resulting economic collapse? We shudder to think of it. But if they have their way, it's coming, and sooner rather than later.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Proof that the Beshear administration is a bunch of liars and vengeful Democrat hacks

For months now, as Gov. Steve Beshear and longtime Democrat hack turned Transportation Secretary Joe Prather have whined and cried about the budget, they have stated over and over again that no projects have been cut.

Even though we knew that was a total and complete lie, we heard the current administration repeat that line over and over again, and even watched an initiative called "Practical Solutions" be adopted that virtually guarantees reductions in what longtime planned projects haven't been axed from the six-year road plan.

But now comes word that the Beshear administration actually has cut a project. This project is for the reconstruction of KY 61 in Adair County, and would actually link two segments of the highway that have already been rebuilt or relocated.

We don't think it's a coincidence that this project is in a Republican county.

We also don't think it's a coincidence that KY 61 in Adair County leads from Columbia to Burkesville, home of Republican State Sen. President David Williams. In fact, we see this particular project cancellation as a direct slap in the face to Williams, who's had the audacity to stand up to Beshear and his band of hacks and liars.

This is twice now that Beshear and Prather have acted in a petty manner toward Williams, The first time, they cut back a project intended to widen and straighten a very deadly segment of highway in Cumberland County. (We had some thoughts on that decision as well.) Now, they're leaving unfinished a vital part of the highway system that links Cumberland County to the rest of the state.

Beshear and Prather are playing politics with the economic well-being and driving safety of Kentuckians. At least now they and their spin doctors won't be able to claim that no projects have been cut. And we can't wait to see how Sen. Williams will strike back.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Calling BS on and "RDemocrat"

Apparently Democrats can't help but to tell lies. It must be in their nature.

Take, for instance, a post earlier today on BluegrassRoots by a contributor who calls himself "RDemocrat." We've seen enough of this guy's posts over the years on BGR and other forums to know that he'd eat a mile of any Democrat's feces just to get a chance to kiss where it came from.

This particular line in his post heaping hosannas all over Gov. Beshear for his emergency declaration that triggered the gas price gouging law's enforcement jumped out at us as one of the most blatant lies ever told by a Democrat (and that's saying something):

"Our former Republican Governor would not have dreamed of such a measure."

The fact is that Ernie Fletcher issued a similar declaration as soon as he possibly could after Hurricane Katrina caused a jump in gas prices to then-record levels in 2005. That declaration was in effect for quite some time after Katrina, was based on the 2004 law, and resulted in a lawsuit against Marathon filed by Deadbeat Dad and former Attorney General Greg Stumbo. (Go research Kentucky Progress for details).

So, "RDemocrat," you are a liar. Go stand in line with the rest of your like-minded fools to await your prize.

Steve Beshear: A day late and a dollar a gallon short

Earlier today, Gov. Beshear issued an emergency declaration invoking Kentucky's price-gouging laws against excessive gasoline prices -- AFTER the price per gallon had risen to near-record levels as Hurricane Ike approaches the Gulf Coast.

Good timing there, Steve, especially since we've heard reports of gas nearing $5 per gallon in some Kentucky locales.

Rumors were rampant across the state Thursday night that a huge jump in gas prices was imminent the next day. Yet Beshear waited until midday on Friday, when prices had already spiked, before he took action.

Had Beshear had any foresight, he would have issued the declaration on Thursday evening, which might have helped prevent today's huge increase.

As it is, we don't expect state officials to do anything even if gas continues to rise. We are, in general, free-market devotees but we've never believed gas prices follow free-market principles. For once we'd like to see our state leaders grow a set of testicles and issue an executive order freezing prices, or better yet, repealing them to yesterday's levels.

With his emergency declaration, Beshear can act concerned but in reality he hasn't done anything that will matter to the average Kentucky gasoline consumer.

Some friendly advice for Bill Nighbert

We have no doubts that Bill Nighbert, the beleaguered former Kentucky Transportation Cabinet secretary, is well-served by his legal counsel, Howard Mann of Corbin.

However, we'd like to offer Mr. Nighbert, whom we are fond of personally and professionally, some advice to maximize his possibility for vindication.

1.) Mr. Mann should move for a severance of the cases. Nighbert should not be tried with Leonard Lawson, Brian Billings, or anyone else who may be indicted in the future in connection with this case.

2.) Mann should move to exercise his client's right to a speedy trial. The indictment of Nighbert broke no new ground and offered no proof of the assertions made weeks earlier in a leaked affidavit that Nighbert's post-LRC employment was actually a front for bribe money from Leonard Lawson. Since the government offered no proof of their allegation, it's pretty obvious their evidence is shaky. Nighbert should take full advantage of this and demand a speedy trial.

3.) Most importantly, Mann ought to move for a change of venue outside the Commonwealth of Kentucky, if possible. The state's largest papers, most notably the Lexington Herald-Leader, has blatantly tried to influence the jury pool by blasting Nighbert at every opportunity and running unflattering stories about him. Public opinion has definitely been tainted against Nighbert, as evidenced by the dozens of uninformed blog posts that are made about him on PolWatchers and other blogs across the state. This trial ought to be moved outside the state to a place where no one ever heard of Bill Nighbert and few know of Ernie Fletcher or Greg Stumbo.

As of this moment, we're confident the facts will exonerate Nighbert, but with passions as inflamed as they are due to the Fletcher-hating media stoking the fire, why take chances? If Nighbert's fate rests with a dozen people too dumb to get out of jury duty, anything can happen, especially if those jurors are dumb enough to believe everything they read in the Herald-Leader.

Stumbo for speaker? Not in our state!

We greet the news that Greg Stumbo will challenge Jody Richards for the title of speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives with no great surprise. After all, it's right in character with the power-hungry and arrogant Democrat from Prestonsburg. Look at the hostile takeover bid he engineered after losing last year's bid for lieutenant governor to get his House seat back.

What we find more surprising is that anyone would seriously consider putting such a man in a position of leadership in this state.

Greg Stumbo is morally unfit to hold any position of power or leadership in this state. Most of his travails are well-known. Two decades ago, he cheated on his first wife with a woman named Travis Fritsch, who became pregnant by Stumbo and gave birth to his son. Several years later,when Fritsch sued Stumbo for back child support, he refused to pay and instead countersued her for defamation.

We're not as troubled by Stumbo's adultery as we are the fact that he is a deadbeat dad who retaliated against a legitimate claim for past-due child support with a defamation suit, instead of simply challenging Fritsch's claim for more money in a response to her suit. His conduct here demonstrates his contempt for the law as well as a distain for his own familial responsibilities.

Then there is Stumbo's partisan abuse of power while he served as attorney general. During his term in the General Assembly, Stumbo frequently wrote letters on House stationery, recommending fellow Democrats for state merit system jobs. The intent was obvious: Stumbo was trading on his political power to secure jobs for fellow travelers. Yet when he became attorney general, Stumbo brought down an incumbent Republican governor by trumping up a patronage "scandal." If Stumbo had been serious bout prosecuting patronage, he would have prosecuted himself for trying to use his political influence to meddle in merit system hiring decisions.

And don't forget the infamous "disappearing DUI" charge, where a judge bought Stumbo's lame excuse that he wasn't driving a car that was involved in a fender-bender. This incident gives light to a little-discussed topic, that being Stumbo's well-known but rarely-mentioned fondness for alcoholic libations. The enjoyment of adult beverages is legal for persons above a certain age in Kentucky, which Stumbo certainly is, but the question is just how often and with what frequency does Stumbo enjoy this privilege of adulthood.

Finally, was his relationship with Kent Downey and his involvement in "Strippergate" ever fully vetted?

Quite frankly, Stumbo is not leadership material. He is not someone that Kentucky parents can point to with pride and want their children to emulate. For all our differences with Gov. Steve Beshear, he's a decent role model. So is Jody Richards. Stumbo certainly isn't.

We find it even more hard to swallow that Stumbo may have support from Republicans for the speaker's post. Don't these folks remember what Stumbo did to the state's first Republican governor in three decades? If not for Stumbo, Ernie Fletcher would be a quarter of the way into his second term today, and possibly even on John McCain's ticket as the vice president nominee, instead of being out of politics and back in the private sector.

No right-thinking Republican should even consider backing Stumbo. Any Republicans who do should be taken out of circulation at the next possible primary.

People who value good character in their leaders should oppose any move to allow Greg Stumbo to become speaker of the house. It's time for Kentuckians to come together to demand more from their leaders. If you are represented by a Democrat, contact your representative and express your disgust at the thoughts of Stumbo being a leader. Point out his moral failings and note that you expect more from your leaders. If you are represented by a Republican, remind him or her of what Stumbo did to your party's governor and ask if that is the type of person a Republican can trust to act in a bipartisan manner.

Stumbo as speaker? Not in our state! It's time for people of good character to mobilize against this possible travesty.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Herald-Leader: Anti-rural Kentucky, anti-Lambert, or both?

We read two things into the Herald-Leader's recent story series on the building of new courthouses in many Kentucky counties.

The first is the paper's continuing bias against rural Kentucky. As evidenced by its stances on Interstate 66 and other projects designed to benefit Kentucky's rural counties and the people who live there, it stands to reason that the Herald-Leader has no real love for anyone outside the state's 20 biggest counties. The paper has consistently opposed projects that would be of great benefit for the general population (proposing instead policies that would benefit individuals at the cost of the greater good) and has also consistently opposed the candidates for office that would do the most for this wide geographical swath of the state.

But the second is a preemptive strike against former Supreme Court Chief Justice Joe Lambert, in an effort to derail a possible gubernatorial bid before it ever gets off the ground.

Lambert is a very attractive gubernatorial possibility. He brings much more to the table than most of the potential Republican candidates being mentioned, notably Trey Grayson and Richie Farmer. He'd be a formidable challenger to Steve Beshear or any other Democrat who might dethrone the embattled Beshear in the primary. We'd have no qualms wholeheartedly supporting and endorsing Lambert's candidacy in the primary, especially over Grayson or Farmer.

Beshear is not quite a year into his term, and his performance has been so dismal that challengers will soon begin jockeying for position. Lambert, now retired from the judiciary save for his status as a part-time "senior judge," could launch a campaign at any time and have no distractions to keep him off the trail of votes.

The H-L knows this, and they also know there have been some whisperings about getting Lambert into the race. So the time for them to attempt to discredit him is now, before his backers can even get a campaign off the ground.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Stumbo puts his dishonesty, lack of integrity on display again

In a Herald-Leader online story about political contributions made by indicted highway construction contractor Leonard Lawson, there's an especially disgusting comment from one Gregory "Deadbeat Drunken Dad" Stumbo that's particularly galling.

“Leonard Lawson has been a friend of mine for well over 30 years,” Stumbo said. “I think he’s entitled to be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”

The hypocrisy in Stumbo's comment is not to be believed. After all, he is the one who made the comment that "As far as I'm concerned, Darrell Brock is a common criminal" after Stumbo's office indicted Brock in the state hiring investigation. Attorney General Stumbo certainly did not have the same opinion about the presumption of innocence as State Rep. Stumbo does.

But then again, it's Greg Stumbo we're talking about, a being that has no morals or ethics, so nothing is surprising with him. When you cheat on your wife, father a child with the mistress, refuse to pay child support for the illegitimate son, then sue the mistress for harassment when she tries to collect the back child support, then you aren't much of a man. When you cut shady deals with incumbent representatives to get your old House seat back after your term as AG is over, your thirst for power and your lack of integrity comes front and center.

The only difference between Greg Stumbo and a bag of manure is the bag. That the people of Floyd County keep electing him is a head-scratcher (guess it's further proof of how inadequate and corrupt Floyd County public schools have historically been) and that the Democrats in the General Assembly would even consider giving him a leadership role is beyond belief.

If Greg Stumbo had any honor or shame, he'd go to the top of Maggie Mountain and never come back, sending Mary Karen out for bologna, potato chips, cheese and bread when he gets hungry, and a case of beer every 12 hours.

On the Nighbert indictment

We were saddened to learn yesterday afternoon of the indictment of former Transportation Secretary Bill Nighbert in conjunction with the investigation into possible bid-rigging.

The Bill Nighbert we know is not a criminal. The Nighbert we know is a man of honesty and integrity. He has lived an exemplary life of public service and is well-regarded across the state for his service as mayor of Williamsburg and his activity with the Kentucky League of Cities. His reputation had never been tarnished or besmirched until Greg Stumbo decided to make a crime out of trying to end the Democrat patronage system that's plagued KYTC for years and of casual conversation.

The indictment offered no proof of the allegations that Nighbert's post-KYTC employment was actually a front for highway contractor Leonard Lawson to funnel him money in exchange for the confidential estimates on construction projects. Only the same supposition, conjecture and speculation previously leaked by sources close to the grand jury was included. There was no new evidence and, more importantly, no proof. The prosecution has offered up nothing to indicate that Nighbert's employment was a front for Lawson.

The usual suspects will weigh in on "Republican corruption," but it's worth noting that the other person indicted besides Lawson and Nighbert, Brian Billings, isn't a Republican. Billings comes from a influential and prominent Democrat family in Powell and surrounding counties that includes the late B.E. "Nig" Billings, former state representative and senator. Billings is a former KYTC employee, no doubt hired because of his family's political connections, who now works for a Lawson company.

It's interesting that remaining unindicted was Jim Rummage, the KYTC employee who actually did obtain the confidential project estimates and by his own admission took $20,000 in bribes from Lawson to do so. The only criminal activity within KYTC that the evidence points to was that of Rummage, also a Democrat, who repeatedly lied to authorities and changed his story.

We don't care what happens to Lawson, and have only marginal interest in the fate of Rummage or Billings, although we will say they are examples of what you get when Democrat patronage runs unchecked.

But we do hope that Nighbert is exonerated. Right now there is definitely not enough evidence to even support the indictment, much less convict him under a standard of "reasonable doubt," and we hope that Nighbert comes through this unscathed. He's a good and decent man and does not deserve the trouble he's endured simply because he tried to change the culture of the Transportation Cabinet.