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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

*** Let business owners decide their smoking policy. ***

Many communities all across our Commonwealth have been busy outdoing each other on how tough they can get with smoking and I applaud some of these wise efforts. I realize the EXTREME dangers of second hand smoke and do NOT want to be exposed to them. Therefore, it is appropriate for government to ban it in government buildings and structures. As a Liberty Lover however, I must draw the line when it comes to private businesses. Government has to respect the property rights of these business owners and let them decide whether or not to go smoke-free. We, as consumers, can be free also to decide which establishments to patronize and where to spend our hard earned dollars: whether at those business establishments that are smoke-free or those that are not. Freedom of our choice (yes, and that includes whether or not to die from smoking related injuries) and respect for private property rights are the basic foundations of our beloved country. And we MUST respect them.


McConnell makes clear: fall elections not about Fletcher.

Senator Mitch McConnell is making it clear that candidates will steer clear of the Gov. during this year's elections. Read the story for yourself. This is the most the Senator has had to say about the Gov. and his political capital -- and it is short of a rosy picture.


An update: Reprising the victim role?

Is the C-J unfairly picking on Steve Henry or is he suspiciously reprising his victim role? You decide.


Sunday, August 27, 2006

Our condolences go to crash victims' families.

Today, a tragic air accident occured at the Lexington, KY airport. Our condolences go to EVERY family affected by this tragedy. May God be with you all as you mourn the passing away of your loved ones. And our thanks go out to our brave men and women first responders, who risked their lives to save the co-pilot.

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"Blinking" at the political "Ok Corral": An analysis of the merit plea deal.

I promised to analyze the merit plea deal and I aim to keep my promise. I shall do so by first stating what the deal provides and then commenting afterwards as deemned appropriate. The plea showed that: The Gov. : (1) acknowledged strong evidence of his administration's wrongdoings with the merit system; (2) accepted responsibility for the wrong doings; (3) recognized the propriety of the AG's investigation and his constitutional duty to do so, and admitted that the investigation has benefitted the commonwealth with a view to preventing future merit system abuses, including an agreement that "[b]oth parties will place no reliance upon the Secretary of the Personnel Cabinet memorandum of May 27, 2005, purporting to validate all merit hires."; and, (4) gets the case against him dismissed WITH PREJUDICE (meaning that the charges against him can NEVER be refiled). The AG: (5) acknowledged that the administration's wrongdoings were without malice (*** Note: a key concession of great legal utility to prevent the Gov. and AG from being sued); (6) gets to be the executive and "appoint" new members of a new personnel board; and (7) ensures that the Gov.'s volunteers will be subject to Executive Board Ethics rules (the Dave Disponnett rule). Both sides agree: (8) to abide by the the provisions of KRS 61.101, et seq. (dealing with public offices and officers); (9) that there will be no more Grand Jury evidence gathering or indictments, though the Grand Jury can still issue a report; and (10) to release each other from any claims from the probe.
I still say the day the plea deal (which almost fell apart) was reached was a good day for Fletcher, as he got Stumbo (who isn't sure he saw all of the evidence) to "blink" during the "showdown". What effect the plea deal will have on Stumbo's and Fletcher's (Grayson and others are nipping at his heel) political futures remain to be seen, though many newspapers are already chimming in. Read the C-J, Hill, Alessi, AP, Beardsley, Crowley, Enquirer, Post, H-L, Cross, Hawpe, C-J2, Glasgow, Gleaner, and others (to follow).


Thursday, August 24, 2006

A GOOD day for Fletcher as Stumbo "blinks", dismissing merit charges.

This has got to be viewed as a very GOOD day for the Gov. as the charges against him are dismissed by mutual agreement of the Gov. and AG. Read the story, agreement and my analysis (coming soon).


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Good, now we can expect copycats.

Remember the teacher from Jefferson County Public School (JCPS) in Louisville (I won't give him publicity by mentioning his name here) who burned the American flag in his classroom? Well, his story is going global. To the news media: this is just what we need to set off copycats looking for their own 15 seconds of fame (SHAME, really, is just what any flag burner deserves), just like the wacko claiming to have killed Jon Bennet Ramsey. We have to resist the urge and learn instead to ignore these flag burning fools, and others like them, so they can fade away to wherever they came without us giving them the publicity they crave. If we do this, we will have less repeat performances and copycats.

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Gov. Murkowski loses Alaska's primary.

Frank Murkowski, Republican Governor of Alaska and SurveyUsa's second most unpopular Governor, lost re-election in a three-way primary yesterday. He becomes only the third sitting Governor in recent memory to lose his party's nomination, after Missouri's Bob Holden and Rhode Island's Bruce Sundlun, both Democrats.


Monday, August 21, 2006

This CANNOT be good news.

Though the election is nearly 14 months away, this CANNOT be viewed as good news. Any thought of judge Melcher's ruling, which postponed the merit trial, helping the Gov.'s re-election efforts is ... well, forget it -- it made it worse. But like I said, the election is still 14 months away.


Sunday, August 20, 2006

Will Fletcher critics take up challenge and "put up or shut up"?

Last week, the Gov. put out word to his critics to "put up or shut up". The question becomes: will they? And if they do, who will it be and which way will they go? My guess is that many in the Gov.'s party are going to wait for an answer before making a decision. Others (both inside and outside his party, including the press) have suggested his friends tell him to go or have made up their minds not to vote for him, already believing the Gov. has something to hide unless he faces a jury of his peers.


Is Steve Henry "trying to hide behind a skirt"?

The saga over Steve Henry's medicaid billing billing continues. Recently when the issue came up again, in light of Steve Henry's gubernatorial ambitions, Steve Henry blamed his billing clerk, a Mrs. Gregory. Now Mrs. Gregory has indicated that she knew that Steve Henry was billing the Feds. for work he did not perform and that Steve Henry signed off on all the billing. Her lawyer described Steve Henry's actions unflatteringly as "trying to hide behind [Mrs. Gregory's] skirt".


Friday, August 18, 2006

KY court of appeals: Disputed BG road is county road.

If you live in Warren County or are a racing fan (I am both), you would have heard of the on-going dispute between Matt Baker and Dallas Jones, who owns Beech Bend, over the ownership of a strip of road. Matt Baker claimed private ownership while Dallas Jones claimed ownership in the county. Today the Court of Appeals reversed a lower court ruling and found that the disputed road is a county road. Read the opinion here. Matt Baker has promised to appeal to the Supreme Court, so stay tuned for an update later.

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***** Special "merit" judge's opinion is correct! *****

The special judge in the merit system investigation case has issued his opinion. Because the judge's opinion vindicated me on ALL the points raised, with the exception of the immunity issue which I did NOT discuss earlier (see my earlier post), I shall limit my analysis to that very issue ONLY. Here is the essence of the judge's ruling: (1) The Gov. is accused of official, such as hiring and firing employees (as opposed to unofficial acts -- such as assaults, bribes, burglaries); (2) Agrieved employees could sue the Gov. in various courts around the commonwealth; (3) While the Gov. does not enjoy absolute immunity from prosecution, the prospect of (2) requires a Fitzgerald V. Nixon, 457 U. S. 731, 754 (1982) balancing of competing interests and deference to the constitutional seperation of powers doctrine; and (4) such balancing and deference, together with adherence to Ky constitutional provisions 27, 28, 68, and the fact that KRS 18A.990 (2) requires the GOV.'s removal from office, thereby "put[ing] the cart before the horse" in violation of our constitution, mandates that the criminal action be stayed until after the Gov. is impeached or leaves office.
Here is my conclusion: The Nixon court found after the balancing test that "[t]he exercise of jurisdiction is not warranted in the case of merely private suits for damages based on a President's official acts". Assuming that that the same Nixon principle ought to apply here, the merit case is NOT about private suits so it is distinguishable. But the inquiry should not end there. Can the prospect of being sued in various courts around the commonwealth prevent the prosecution of the Gov.? I don't think the speculative nature of this inquiry merits any further discussion. Then what about the constitutional provisions mentioned by the court? Does a balancing of the competing interests require the "stop prosecuting" order issued by the court? It appears to do so. Why? Well, review, if you will, the provision of KY const. sec. 68: "The Governor and all civil officers shall be liable to impeachment for any misdemeanors in office; but judgment in such cases shall not extend further than removal from office, and disqualification to hold any office of honor, trust or profit under this Commonwealth; but the party convicted shall, nevertheless, be subject and liable to indictment, trial and punishment by law. " The plain reading of this constitutional provision suggests an impeachment conviction FIRST, before any indictment, trial and punishment by law! So regardless of what you hear out there, Chief Justice Joseph Lambert and special Judge David Melcher are right -- prosecuting the Gov. before he is FIRST "liable to impeachment" will constitutionally "put the [prosecution] cart before the [impeachment] horse"!! (The inserted words in the quote are mine).


Thursday, August 17, 2006

Pence: Fletcher should rethink running; Fletcher to critics: file and run, if you want.

Steve Pence, has joined the chorus of those publicly asking the Gov. not to seek re-election. The Gov., for his part, has "called out" his GOP critics telling them to file and run against him.


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

My prediction comes through ... again.

About a month or so ago when I was still blogging on ConservativeEdge and before I launched this site, I predicted that another of Fletcher's Cabinet Secretaries will resign "sooner rather than later" (You can check it out on that blog site). Well, I was proven right today when Virginia Fox of the Education Cabinet resigned. Here is a news release excerpt from the Gov.'s office:
FRANKFORT, Ky. – Kentucky Education Cabinet Secretary Virginia G. Fox, 67, announced her retirement today. The resignation is effective Sept. 1, 2006.
In her letter to Governor Ernie Fletcher, Fox wrote, “I have been honored to serve as your Education Cabinet Secretary, and was distinctly pleased that you selected an Education Cabinet Secretary first. Time and time again, you have demonstrated your commitment to education, and specifically to accelerating student achievement. I will treasure the memories of working with you and the many dedicated agency heads in the Education Cabinet.”
“Ginni is an exceptional individual, and she has done a tremendous job helping me move Kentucky forward,” said Governor Fletcher. “Her tireless work has brought all of the Education Cabinet agencies much closer together, and the proof of her effort was visible in the successful 2006 General Assembly when many educational initiatives were approved. Her heart and soul are rooted in Kentucky education, and that passion has improved the lives of all Kentuckians. She will be deeply missed.”
Ok, I predict (AGAIN) that there will be another resignation before the end of the year, and I won't say who. You just have to come back here and check to find out who it will be.


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Fletcher deserves applause for appointing first Black Supreme Court Justice.

This is GREAT news indeed and Fletcher rightfully deserves GREAT credit for it. He has appointed the first Black to the Kentucky Supreme Court. Read about it here and see the pictures here. Whatever other shortcomings the Gov. may be accused of having, appointing the first Black Justice, and recognizing as he did during the investiture of Justice McNulty that "his ascension creates a role model for African-American children, whom he said now know the dream is real ... and that [w]e've had a history of prejudice in this state [and] I think really this day speaks that we’ve come so far”, is very admirable. No matter what, the Gov. can take credit for appointing the first Black Kentucky Supreme Court Justice -- a feat that brings the state closer to the present century.


The never ending saga: Court grants grand jury 90 day extension.

The judge overseeing the merit system grand jury investigation has yet granted another 90 day extension requested by Stumbo. Read it here. Presumably, the Grand Jury needs the extension to gather more information to hand down more post-pardon indictments and/or to write its report. This investigation has to be in the running for the never ending saga. It will now continue well after the November elections -- a prospect that doesn't bode well for members of the Gov.'s political party, but ONLY if the other party can convince the voters it has something better to offer.


Monday, August 14, 2006

*** Loyalty is a two-way street. ***

A few months ago when I was still blogging on Conservativedge, and before I launched this blog site, I wrote (and you can verify it) that the biggest problem fellow Republicans have with the Fletcher administration is that aside from the merit system investigation, many loyal supporters felt the Gov. became disloyal to them. Finally, Herb Brock of the Danville Advocate - Messenger, is stating the same. You can read his column here. The column is particularly jarring because of its very strong tone and also because the newspaper STRONGLY supported the Gov's. candidacy. Here is an excerpt: As a devout Christian - more than that, an ordained minister - Fletcher should ... not treat these people as traitors. But it looks like the governor is regarding the people who are distancing themselves from him - and those who are considering running against him - as disloyal sailors who are involved in a mutiny and trying to take over his ship or who are jumping ship. BlackBerry e-mail message to Capt. Ernie Queeg: Loyalty is a two-way street. What about those former members of your inner circle and fellow indictees whom you first pardoned and then fired? ... You threw these loyal hands overboard. And word has it that you didn't call, e-mail, fax or tell any of them in person that they were getting the ax before it fell. ... the reason Trey Grayson and other Republicans are looking at challenging you is not because they are disloyal to you, it's because you have been disloyal to the principles and promises of your campaign, one of which was to "clean up the mess in Frankfort."


Fed's inaction on immigration forces localities to take extreme measures.

The inaction of the federal government in dealing with illegal immigration has forced several local governments to take the law into their own hands. Read the story here. One such community is Hazleton, Pa. where the mayor says illegal immigrants are overfilling schools cramming local health clinics and "destroying small towns" that don't have the budget to deal with the influx. The city passed a law that fines landlords for renting to illegal immigrants and punishes employers for hiring them. To implement it, renters will be required to go to City Hall and obtain a permit assuring landlords that they are in the USA legally, a process that would require a background check with the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Similar measures are being considered in Riverside, N.J., Palm Bay, Fla., in the Pennsylvania towns of Allentown, Shenandoah, Mount Pocono, Gadsden, Ala., Kennewick, Wash., and Escondido, Calif. . Others are expected to follow. Opponents argue that the requirements will not pass judicial scrutiny, probably on the basis that the laws unfairly single out illegals. However, proponents retort that laws that penalize employers, such as in Utah, Georgia, Louisiana, Colorado and Pennsylvania, meet judicial scrutiny. Whether or not one agrees that these laws can pass judicial scrutiny, it is clear that localities will not be taking these bold steps if the federal government did not abandon its responsibility to secure our borders from illegal immigration.


Sunday, August 13, 2006

"Meaningless Kabuki Dance"; The Senate judicial confirmation process.

Taking a break from Frankfort, here is an interesting article about the federal judicial confirmation process which the author EXCELLENTLY (and aptly) describes as a "meaningless Kabuki dance". The author urges an end to such meaningless senate charade and makes a powerful argument in support of his position. I will bring you any counterpoint, if published.


Saturday, August 12, 2006

Another blow for Fletcher as GOP party leaders rebuff him.

Yesterday, GOP party leaders rebuffed the Gov.'s efforts to put Larry forgy on the GOP Executive governing body. You can read the story here. Larry Forgy, a perennial defender and strong ally of the Gov., was the Gov.'s choice to be his voice on the GOP body. Reports are that the Gov. was there and spoke. So also were Stan Cave and Mrs. Fletcher. According to the same reports, Senator Mitch McConnell will hear NOTHING of Larry Forgy's candidacy and Steve Huffman, Lt. Governor Steve Pence's Chief of Staff, was elected instead (albeit with McConnell's blessing). This is NOT good news for the Gov., no matter how these turn of events are spun.


Friday, August 11, 2006

***** Special merit judge vindicates me ... then gives life to Justice Lambert's footnote #16. *****

The special judge in the merit system hiring probe has vindicated me and found that the Gov.'s arguments for dismissals of the indictments, including selective prosecution, are DUDs. The only argument the Gov. won on resulted in a postponement of the trial until after impeachment or end of term, not a dismissal of the charges. (See my earlier post of July 19th below discussing the merits of the Gov.'s arguments entitled: Fletcher seeks indictments dismissals ... ). You can read the news reports here, here and these excerpts: [Fletcher's] attorneys Steve Pitt and Kent Westberry ... offered the judge six main arguments for dismissal [discussed in my earlier post] ... Melcher said he will overrule five of them, but was struck by Fletcher’s attorneys’ point that a governor cannot be indicted for official acts, such as hiring state employees [and] said in court this morning that a governor must be impeached before such a prosecution. The executive-immunity argument first surfaced earlier this summer, when Chief Justice Joseph Lambert raised the point in an unusual footnote (16) in an unrelated state Supreme Court ruling. The judge's opinion will be released on August 18th, and I shall analyze it then. Meanwhile, here is a statement released from the Gov.'s office:

Commonwealth of Kentucky
Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
For Immediate Release
August 11, 2006
Contact: Jodi Whitaker 502-564-2611


FRANKFORT, Ky. – We are pleased with today’s ruling because Kentuckians are weary of this sad ordeal. Now, we can all turn our full attention to the children, families and communities of this great Commonwealth.


Thursday, August 10, 2006

*** Update: McConnell speaks volumes! ***

Update: Senator Mitch McConnell has now publicly stated that he will attend Louisville fundraiser for Trey Grayson. Read it here. McConnell said in a statement released to announce his attendance: “Trey Grayson is a friend and trusted ally. His steady leadership in Frankfort has been noticed across Kentucky; I look forward to attending his event and supporting the campaign of this respected leader.” This latest development comes after the Senator's deafening silence about the Gov., and a day AFTER state Senate president, David Williams, indicated he was going to attend, and also a day after news reports are indicating that the Gov.'s associates are making phone calls attempting to sabotage the fundraising efforts. My, oh, my.


Sounds rather childish at best.

The organizer of a louisville fundraiser for Trey Grayson for Secretary of State is confirming earlier reports about pressure being exerted by those connected to the Gov. to derail the fundraiser. You can read it here. This move comes on the heels of Trey's announcement that he is considering running against the Gov. . If you ask me, I think the move is ill-advised and sounds rather childish at best -- and you can guess what it sounds like at worst.


* What? No "smoking gun"? *

After all the brouhaha about the Gov.'s sadie email account, one would have thought the AG was seeking the "smoking gun". Well, it turns out that sadie contained nothing of the sort -- just some musings, unless you consider the reference to trusting d's as a "smoking gun". I'm sure this was a HUGE letdown for the AG's office.


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Iraq war scalps Lieberman, Mckinney embarasses to the bitter end.

Senator Lieberman lost his primary yesterday in a primary election widely viwed by many as a Democratic referendum on the Iraq war (an oxymoron, perhaps, since most Dems. oppose the war.) Recently (see my earlier post here), I posed the question of whether Lieberman is the next independent. Well, the question has been answered as he has indicated he will run as an independent. Also, the always-looking-for-a-way-to-embarass- state Rep. Cynthia Mckinney of Georgia lost her primary bid yesterday. Surprise! surprise!! (sorry, Gomer Pyle.) Others also lost in primaries that did NOT bode well for incumbents. Read the story here. I am certain this is some kind of a harbinger for things to come in the fall. Incumbents beware of November!!!


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

State expects to make changes to foster care and adoption systems.

There are welcome news that the state is about to overhaul the forster care and adoption systems in Kentucky. As many of you may be aware, more times than not and in a kind of knee jerk reaction, the commonwealth removes kids from their natural (biological) parents and sends them off to foster care and for adoptions. Many argue that this is because the commonwealth gets credits (read: money) from the Federal government for such forster care and adoption placements. If this is true, then it is damning. Our children are our future leaders (and what we put into them by way of how we raise them is what we can expect to get out of them) and the family is the fabric that holds society together. Mess with them, while diregarding what is in their BEST interests, and we all pay a terrible price -- some say we have been paying that terrible price already. So, any news suggesting an overhaul of such a system as we have, can ONLY be considered welcome news indeed.

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Monday, August 07, 2006


Just like those they fight, some of our soldiers have become animals, too. This is NOT what we are about. We are supposed to be civilized, and they are NOT. Now who can tell the difference?


Scott Jennings: A GOOD political operator to have on your side.

Here is a nice story about Scott Jennings, a GOOD political operator to have on your side. Future politicos: are you listening?


Saturday, August 05, 2006

"Huge development": Grayson "jumps off the high board".

My good freind, Trey Grayson, is the latest Republican to announce he is considering challenging Fletcher for the top GOP nod. Trey made the announcement at the Fancy Farm picnic today. (This is the second straight year I have intentionally missed fancy farm -- a place I enjoy -- to show my disgust at "Frankfort" and to avoid having to watch Liberals take Conservatives to task over the merit system investigation). Read Trey's story here. Here are excerpts: In his speech, Grayson said Republicans stood on stage at Fancy Farm three years ago and promised to “clean up the mess in Frankfort.”“We didn’t mean justifying questionable behavior because the other guy did it too,” Grayson said. After the speech, Grayson confirmed that line was aimed at Fletcher, who during an attorney general’s investigation into state hiring practices has said his administration’s alleged illegal patronage was nothing that Democrats hadn’t done for generations. ... He’s is the latest in a string of Republican leaders who have broken ranks with Fletcher, the state’s first GOP governor in 32 years. Lt. Gov. Steve Pence dropped off Fletcher’s ticket in May. Then state Senate President David Williams said he didn’t think Fletcher could be re-elected. Williams, of Burkesville, could not be reached Saturday. Jefferson County Republican Party Chairman Jack Richardson IV gave Fletcher a scathing review and said he should drop his re-election bid for the good of the party. A spokeswoman for U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, who has been conspicuously silent about Fletcher’s troubles and political standing, could not be reached. House Speaker Jody Richards, D-Bowling Green, said that because Grayson has been “a loyal trooper,” his remarks yesterday are “a huge development.” In an update Fletcher says Grayson should have given him a "heads up", but Grayson spokesman, Les Fugate, retorts that the Gov. doesn't tell them of his intentions, either.
For me, I think Trey is qualified to be governor, and should be allowed to "seek water below" from his "jump off the high board", regardless of his age or experience. Afterall, we STILL live in a FREE country -- at least the last time I checked it was.


Friday, August 04, 2006

2006 GOP political strategy book!

The 2006 GOP political strategy book is revealed, courtesy of a liberal blog site. There is no word of the existence of any political strategy book for the Democrats -- yet. Enjoy!

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

** Stumbo responds to Fletcher's motion to dismiss. **

The Attorney General's office has filed its response, with supporting proof, to the Gov.'s motion to dismiss the merit system indictments. Read the story here.
I must say that after reading and analyzing the AG's response, I believe that the AG has made some VERY persuasive and convincing legal arguments to support the case going forward (since the matters raised are viewed in the light most favourable to the prosecution) --with the exception of Duncan's firing, which I still believe to be proper, if he was STILL a probationary employee at the time of the dismissal as the Gov. alleges. So I conclude that the trial will proceed as scheduled. Then, Stumbo will have the hard task of convincing a petit jury to convict. Stay tuned.


Rejected University Regent nominees sue Fletcher.

Murray state university Regent nominees, whose nominations were rejected by Fletcher, have filed a lawsuit. Read it here. They contend that the Gov., in rejecting their nominations, has violated KRS 164.005. That section provides pertinently: Governor's Postsecondary Education Nominating Committee. (1) There is established the Governor’s Postsecondary Education Nominating Committee which shall consist of seven (7) members representing each of the Supreme Court districts who shall be appointed by the Governor with the consent of the House of Representatives and the Senate. ... (2) (a) The committee shall be responsible for submitting three (3) nominations from which the Governor shall select each gubernatorial appointment to a university or Kentucky Community and Technical College System governing board made pursuant to KRS 164.131, 164.321, and 164.821 and to the Council on Postsecondary Education pursuant to KRS 164.011. ... The Governor shall select the appointees from among the nominees.
The Gov. insists that under a different statute, he has the right to reject names submitted to him. That statute, KRS 12.070 provides as pertinent: Boards and Commissions. (3) Where appointments to administrative boards and commissions are made from lists submitted to him, the Governor may reject the list and require that other lists be submitted. Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary, in the event the current membership of a board or commission reflects a proportion of the minority group less than the proportion of the minority group in the total population of the Commonwealth, then the Governor may appoint a member of the minority group even if the list of nominees for a vacancy does not include a member of the minority group.

Here is my take on the controversy: The issue here becomes how to reconcile the MANDATORY "shall" provisions of the first (dealing specifically with appointments to university boards) and the PERMISSIVE "may" provisions of the second (dealing with the general subject of boards and commissions). The established rules of statutory construction require that new laws on the same subject matter supercede the old and special laws take precedence over general laws, unless the Legislature has expressed a different intent. In this matter the special "shall" provisions, which became effective in 2003, will take precedence over the general "may" provisions, which became effective in 1994, requiring that, in the case of Regents' appontments, the Gov. CANNOT reject the list of names submitted to him by the nominating committee (unless a minority applicant is desired) and MUST select from that list.

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The buying and selling of American democracy.

Regardless of your political affiliation, you must admit that in spite of the religious and partisan tone of the article, Bill Moyers has got this one right.
Here is an excerpt:
At the intersection of these three strategies was money: Big Money.
They found a deep flaw in our political system and zeroed in on it.
Our elected officials need huge sums of money to finance their campaigns, especially to buy television. The average cost of running and winning a seat in the House of Representatives – the so-called “People’s House” – now tops one million dollars. The chairman of the Federal Election Commission said just this weekend that anyone who expects to run for the nomination for president – the nomination – in 2008 will need to have raised one hundred million dollars by the end of 2007. That money isn’t going to come from regular folks – less than one half of one percent of all Americans made a contribution of $200 or more to a federal candidate in 2004. No, the men and women who have mastered the money game have taken advantage of this fundamental weakness in our system – the high cost of campaigns – to sell democracy to the highest bidder.
Some simple facts:
The number of lobbyists registered to do business in Washington has more than doubled in the last five years. That’s 16,342 lobbyists in 2000 to 34,785 last year. Sixty-five lobbyists for every member of Congress.
The total spent per month by special interests wining, dining, and seducing federal officials is now nearly $200 million. Per month.
But it’s a small investment on the return. Just look at the most important legislation passed by Congress in the last decade.
There was the energy bill that gave oil companies huge tax breaks at the same time that Exxon Mobil just posted $36 billion in profits in 2005, while our gasoline and home heating bills are at an all-time high.
There was the bankruptcy “reform” bill written by credit card companies to make it harder for poor debtors to escape the burdens of divorce or medical catastrophe.
There was the deregulation of the banking, securities, and insurance sectors, which led to rampant corporate malfeasance and greed and the destruction of the retirement plans of millions of small investors.
There was the deregulation of the telecommunications sector which led to cable industry price-gouging and the abandonment of news coverage by the big media companies.
There was the blocking of even the mildest attempt to prevent American corporations from dodging an estimated $50 billion in annual taxes by opening a P.O. box in an off-shore tax haven like Bermuda or the Cayman Islands.
In every case these results were driven by the demands of Big Money in the form of campaign contributions and the cost of lobbying.


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

An unsually lenient plea deal from Stumbo.

Here is the link to an unsually plea deal from Greg Stumbo -- essentially a slap on the wrist. Makes one wonder why he would continue to pursue the merit prosecution, instead of allowing similar plea deal -- assuming of course there were PROVABLE violations commited by the Gov. .


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Nothing fancy about this farm.

I have attended several fancy farm picnics over the years, except for last year. I am still considering attending this year, but have not yet made up my mind. I enjoy the food (the all you can eat fare) and the political banter. However, all indications are that there will be nothing fancy at the farm this year -- well, other than the food. Though a "humugous crowd" is expected, there will be no Mitch McConnell, Jim Bunning, Steve Pence, and many other notable Republicans. Now we learn that the Gov. is skipping too. So far only Republicans Robbie Rudolph, Trey Grayson, and Ed Whitfield are expected to be there. Unlike the Republicans, however, Democrats are expected to be there in droves to rib Republicans because of the merit system investigation. Such a one sided affair will ensure there will be nothing fancy at the farm this year, except -- did I mention the food already?


Is the "liberal" press a tormentor of the Gov. or is it merely a government watchdog?

This is the question that summarizes this piece. In it Stan Cave, in an address to the Nicholasville, Jassmine county, Rotary club suggests that, with the Gov., the press (or the "liberal" press) behaves like a tormentor. The writer objects stating instead that the press is interested in openess in government, hence its role as a watchdog. You read and decide.