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Saturday, March 31, 2007

Kerik indictment could peril Giuliani's bid.

Federal prosecutors have reportedly told Bernard B. Kerik, whose nomination as homeland security secretary in 2004 at Rudy Giuliani's recommendation ended in an embarrassment for both Bush and Giuliani, prompting Giuliani to call the recommendation a "mistake", that he is likely to be charged with several felonies, including tax evasion and conspiracy to commit wiretapping. For Giuliani, who has extensive personal and political connections to Kerick and is coasting to a probable Republican primary victory -- barring any political firestorms -- this could not have come at a worse time. How Rudy handles this matter and others (he recently said that his wife will attend Cabinet meetings, but backed away after objectors compared it to the Hillary and Bill syndrome) will decide the success (or failure) of his presidential bid.

Update: 7:59 p.m.: Kerik rejects plea deal. Indictments are imminent. We'll see how it all plays out.

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STRANGE bed fellows. No kidding.

Read more about this topic, including Matt's blog and Matt's Myspace page.

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Friday, March 30, 2007

Person(s) for the week: Julian Carroll

It was hard deciding who should be the person for the week. It became a toss-up between Senator Julian Carroll and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' aide, Kyle Sampson, who was on the Congressional "hot seat" all day yesterday over "prosecurorgate". In the end, the man who got many Kentuckians shaking their collective heads in amazement over his "Steve Pence" remarks on the Senate floor, who got a fellow Democratic Senator to give him lessons about "throwing rocks at others", and who alienated many in his own party for his endorsement -- and the ensuing rationale for the endorsement -- of the Lunsford/Stumbo gubernatorial ticket (which prompted many Democrats to wish he was "retired at his farm" and a blogger to start a recruitment drive for his challenger) is this blog's person for the week. That man is Senator Julian carroll.


Quote(s) for the week.

1) "If Charlie wants to be the nominee, then we want him to be the nominee because of the finances he brings to the table."
- Kentucky Democratic party chair, Jerry Lundergan, on Charlie Owens' desire to challenge Senator Mitch McConnell for the Senate in '08.

2) "In half a century, I have not seen a president so isolated from his own party in Congress -- not Jimmy Carter, not even Richard Nixon as he faced impeachment."
- Syndicated Columnist, Robert Novak, on President Bush.

3) "I swear to God, I don't know what I'm voting for... ."
- Egyptian house painter, Hassan Abdel Salaam, voting in a referendum on constitutional amendments that critics say could seriously erode human rights, not much different from reaction of voters in many parts of the United States!

4) "Money is not free speech. Money is property."
- Senator John McCain on the McCain/Feingold campaign law.

5) "Anybody that’s receiving $140,000; and a Chevy Tahoe — it’s a nice vehicle; has state police protection; has a $2,500 housing allowance, owes the people of Kentucky a check"
- KY Senator Julian Carrol, on a Senate floor speech renewing his call for Lt. Governor Steve Pence to resign.

6) "Should I resign because I don’t support a governor who has been indicted, issued pardons, taken the Fifth Amendment and started a secret defense fund?"
- Steve Pence, on why he is resisting calls to resign.

7) "Steve Pence is a man of great character. We should perhaps take a good look at ourselves before we start throwing rocks at others."
- Sen. Tim Shaughnessy, D-Louisville, responding to Senator Carroll’s floor speech.

8) "I often said if I had his voice, I'd be president of the United States today."
- Senator John McCain (R-AZ), admiring former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson, a current "Law and Order" star, who is considering a presidential run and, most likely, ending McCain's run.

9) "The distinction between 'political' and 'performance-related' reasons for removing a United States attorney is, in my view, largely artificial."
- Kyle Sampson, former chief of staff to the U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, defending the decision to fire eight federal prosecutors (U. S. Attorneys).

10) "A year ago my approval rating was in the 30s, my nominee for the Supreme Court had just withdrawn, and my vice president had shot someone. Ah, those were the good ol' days."
- President George W. Bush, poking fun at himself at a journalists' dinner on Wednesday.

11) "If we win, as we must, we can again rebuild the Democratic Party in Kentucky. If we lose, the Democratic Party in Kentucky will have great difficulty coming back in my lifetime."
- KY Senator, Julian Carroll, endorsing the ticket of Lunsford/Stumbo and inadvertently revealing why he has continued to attack Lt. Gov. Steve Pence, a critic of Gov. Fletcher.

12) "The time has come for an experienced prosecutor who will put doing the job before political consideration."
- Commonwealth Attorney Linda Talley Smith, Boone County, taking a jab at the current occupant of the Office while endorsing commonwealth Attorney, Tim Coleman for Attorney General.

13) "I don't know"
- Former Chief of Staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, repeating the above phrase 122 times!, in answers to Congressional questioning in "Prosecutorgate" -- a possible record.


What are they REALLY saying?: Protecting the environment from mountain top coal removal.

This week's topic for the gubernatorial candidates concerns what they would do to abate the environmental damage from mountain top coal removal. Here are their answers:


Bruce Lunsford: "We will bring together all interested parties to ensure that our mining industry remains healthy and strong while we protect our environment and quality of life." Bruce will gather "interested parties"!

Jonathan Miller: "We must reform the practice ... begin[ning] with "stream saver" legislation ... to stop dumping mining waste into rivers and streams." Johnathan wants to start by (legislatively) stopping dumping of mountain top run-off into waterways!

Jody Richards: No response.

Steve Beshear: "Our state must be the leader in promoting clean coal technologies and alternative fuels while making sure that our air, land and water are protected. Steve doesn't say what he'll do to make the state a "leader" on this issue!

Gatewood Galbraith: Mountain top removal ... scars the landscape. A balance can and must be reached through environmental safeguards, advanced reclamation techniques and modern mining methods while protecting nearby properties, homes and streams." Gatewood doesn't say what he'll do to reach that balance!

Steve Henry: "... I'll work with businesses, local communities, and families across Kentucky for a solution that will stop burying Kentucky streams." Steve will work with "interested parties", I guess, to find a solution!

Otis Hensley: "Coal mining is heavily regulated by federal and state governments. ... [and] I will monitor this and do whatever is necessary to ensure the health and safety of the people living near a MTR site." It sounds like Otis wants to enforce existing laws to solve the problem, but not sure!


Anne Northup: "Kentucky needs a Governor that understands how to work with our federal partners to bring greater investments into developing new technologies, [like coal-to-liquid fuel processes] while at the same time protecting our miners and keeping our environment safe." Anne wants new technologies that will solve the problem.

Ernie Fletcher: "[I]t is critical that we protect our environment and use Kentucky's natural resources in a responsible way[. by] reduc[ing] our future dependence on fossil fuels, ... repair mine lands, protect our water supply and abate acid mine drainage." Ernie wants to encourage less dependence on fossil fuels and (legislatively) "abate acid mine drainage".

Billy Harper: "We need to reevaluate the whole process of mine reclamation by working with coal companies, the Army Corps of Engineers and environmentalists, ... while allowing the mining process to move forward." Billy wants the mining process to continue, while working with "interested parties" to achieve a balance.

That's it folks, in their own words, deciphered.

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Tim Coleman recieves endorsements, Northup takes issue with Fletcher's health care claims & Harper goes to school.

Commonwealth Attorney, Tim Coleman, who is running for Attorney General, has received endorsements from his fellow Prosecutors (9 Commonwealth attorneys and 7 County Attorneys). Click here to view the list and read more. Some of the glowing comments made about Tim (according to the press release), who was "honored and humbled by the outpouring of support across Kentucky", were:

"Tim Coleman is the only candidate in the Republican primary that has the true prosecutorial experience that is needed to overcome Frankfort politics," said Commonwealth Attorney Linda Talley Smith from Boone County. "The time has come for an experienced prosecutor who will put doing the job before political consideration."

"For decades we have had ambitious politicians with law degrees use the office as nothing more than a stepping stone," said Danny Evans, Commonwealth Attorney for Laurel and Knox. "The people of Kentucky should expect their Attorney General to treat his office more than simply a gateway to another office."

"As our next Attorney General, Tim will bring a renewed level of respect and ability to the highest prosecutor’s office in our Commonwealth." states Charles Orange, Commonwealth’s Attorney for Logan and Todd counties.

On the gubernatorial front, Anne Northup, in anticipation of the next mail-out from Fletcher on health care or in reaction to Fletcher's GET HEALTHY KENTUCKY MESSAGES, urged Kentuckians to "Take the Kentucky Health Care Challenge!" The questions she posed are:

Question: Do you think Ernie Fletcher has fixed the problems with Health Care and lowered the cost for Kentuckians?

If you answer YES to this, then Ernie Fletcher is your candidate on May 22nd.
If you answer NO to this, then Anne Northup is your candidate on May 22nd.

Question: Have your Health Care insurance premiums skyrocketed while Ernie Fletcher has sat back and done nothing?

If you answer YES to this, then Anne Northup is your candidate on May 22nd.
If you answer NO to this, then Ernie Fletcher is your candidate on May 22nd.

You can click Northup/Hoover health plan to read about it or watch her discuss it.

And, Billy Harper "will attend the vendors’ night activities at the Jackson Purchase Fire School beginning at 4 p.m. (CDT) Saturday, March 31 at the Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park lodge in Gilbertsville", according to a press release from his office.

Update: 1:45 PM It appears (from Mark Hebert of On the Mark) that Billy Harper's campaign manager, Stan Pulliam, has resigned moved back to his home state of Oregon. His Deputy will take over. This sure is a sign that Stan was frustrated at the progress being made by Harper, whose $3 million spent so far, has bought him no more than a 15% share in the polls. Any thoughts?

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Kentucky GOP schedules "Unity Rally" for May 26th.

Our friends at Pol watchers are reporting that the state GOP has scheduled a "Unity Rally" for May 26th at the state headquarters at the Mitch McConnell building in Frankfort. The announcement letter, which came on stationery from U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s Louisville office, signed by McConnell, U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning and U.S. Reps. Hal Rogers, Ron Lewis, Ed Whitfield and Geoff Davis, and paid for by the McConnell Senate Committee ‘08, provides:

"Together we wish to kick off the general election campaign by demonstrating that the Republican Party of Kentucky stands united and ready to carry its message forward to victory this fall."

"Some in the media have questioned if a competitive spring primary spells doom for the GOP in the fall election. We call such speculation ridiculous. Our candidates and our party will emerge from the May 22 election strengthened and better prepared to lead Kentucky forward."

"Together we will remind Kentuckians of the power of our ideas--our vision for improving education, health care and growing the economy. And working together -- all of us -- we will march to victory this fall."

I note that in 2003, a "Unity Rally" was also held AFTER the primary and yours truly was in attendance. So no one should read anything ominous into the idea of a "unity" rally as if there's an unusual disunity this year!

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Campaign notes: Fletcher, Northup, Upchurch, Coleman, Richards and Beshear.

A few political happenings that I failed to blog yesterday. Here they are:

Gov. Fletcher WISELY authorized the use of $900,000 in discretionary funds to begin work on the Horse Park in preparation for the Equestrian games, that the Legislature failed to provide funds for before adjourning. If we are going to sponsor the games, we might as well start preparing for them!

Northup/Hoover ticket received endorsements from Representatives Dwight Butler (R-Harned), Tim Couch (R-Hyden) and John Vincent (R-Ashland). Representative Tim Couch, who represents Clay and Leslie counties as well as a portion of Harlan County, said, "Anne has the type of leadership ability that has been lacking in the governor’s office and I know Jeff Hoover will make a huge difference for Kentucky, especially in eastern Kentucky’s coal-producing counties".

Tim Coleman, who is running for Attorney General, held a well attended fund raiser in Bowling Green last night. Among the honored guests was Larry Forgy, who was passing out campaign cards for Melinda Wheeler, a candidate for Treasurer.

I received a campaign letter with literature from Ken Upchurch, who is running for Treasurer. I was VERY impressed with the fact that Ken did NOT solicit campaign contribution from me. It MUST be the FIRST time it has happened to me EVER. Like I said, I found that to be very IMPRESSIVE. Normally, politicians in campaign mode ONLY want to hear from your MONEY!

Jody Richards garnered endorsements from his Democratic colleagues in the House. The list can be found on Pol Watchers, since I did NOT receive the information myself. I will start to ONLY report campaign news that are emailed to me, UNLESS for some reason I deem them to be ESPECIALLY news worthy. This is kind of a heads up to campaigns to email information they need posted.

And Steve Beshear sent me an email touting his new plan to expand health care to all Kentuckians, starting with children. Read the GAMBLING plan to find the specifics and decide for yourselves -- I say "gambling plan" because the plan relies on "$500 million" generated by the as-yet-to-be-constitutionally-approved gambling supported by the Beshear/Mongiado ticket.

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Tuskegee Airman receive deserved honor ... BELATEDLY!

President Bush saluted the Tuskegee Airmen today, roughly six decades after they completed their World War II mission only to return home to face another -- discrimination against them because they were black. As President Bush remarked, while presenting the group of legendary black aviators with Congressional Gold Medals — the most prestigious Congress has to offer, "[t]hese men in our presence felt a special sense of urgency. They were fighting two wars. One was in Europe and the other took place in the hearts and minds of our citizens. ... Even the Nazis asked why African American men would fight for a country that treated them so unfairly."

Well, Nazis or no Nazis, it is NEVER too LATE to RIGHT a WRONG; and it is so gratifying to see these Brave Warriors receive the recognition that is due them -- even if the same came so BELATEDLY.

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***** Julian Carroll reveals POLITICAL motive behind his UNPRECEDENTED attack on Steve Pence. *****

One does not have to look beyond Kentucky Senator Julian Carroll's statement of endorsement for the Lunsford/Stumbo ticket to unearth the REAL POLITICAL reason behind his ill-advised and UNPRECEDENTED attacks on Lt. Governor Steve Pence. Consider, if you will, what Julian Carrol is quoted as saying is his reason for the Lunsford/Stumbo endorsement:

"Because the governor’s chair is now held by a Republican, the Senate is now controlled by Republicans, and (U.S. Sen.) Mitch McConnell is now in the driver’s seat to raise money nationally, the governor’s race for November is the most important race for Democrats in my lifetime,"

"If we win, as we must, we can again rebuild the Democratic Party in Kentucky. If we lose, the Democratic Party in Kentucky will have great difficulty coming back in my lifetime."

[The performance of President George Bush and Gov. Ernie Fletcher] "and the issues attendant to their failures have given us an opportunity that will not be matched in my lifetime. Thus, we must face reality in making our primary choice that may well not be our personal wish but is absolutely necessary to achieve our goal to elect a Democratic governor in November."

NEED I, or ANYONE ELSE for that matter, say any more ... about Julian Carroll's true POLITICAL intentions in attacking Lt. Governor Steve Pence in a matter that is an intra party Republican squabble?

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Gonzales' aide testifies, Dems. cry croynism.

I watched the long awaited testimony of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' senior Aide, Kyle Sampson, and it came and went with No REAL fireworks. How you feel about "Prosecutorgate" depends on how you feel about his opening statement (which is likely the "road map" of his ENTIRE testimony) today, which can be summed up this way (in his own words): "The distinction between 'political' and 'performance-related' reasons for removing a United States attorney is, in my view, largely artificial. ... A U.S. attorney who is unsuccessful from a political perspective ... is unsuccessful. ... Presidential appointees are judged not only on their professional skills but also their management abilities, their relationships with law enforcement and other governmental leaders and their support for the priorities of the President and the Attorney General."
Agree or disagree?

Update: Kyle Sampson disputed Gonzales' recollection as to whether Gonzales was at meetings were Attorney firings were discussed. Gonzales said he wasn't, Sampson says he was. Also, Kyle Sampson responded "I do NOT know" to questions a total of 122 times! That MUST be a record, but otherwise there was NO "smoking gun".

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KY High school "feels no love" for "Beloved".

Eastern High Principal, James Sexton, is reported to have ordered senior Advanced Placement English class teachers at the school to remove Toni Morrison's classic novel "Beloved" from the list of required reading. He took the action after about two parents complained that the Pulitzer Prize-winning antebellum slavery novel too graphically depicted bestiality, racism and sex. The teachers were to start over with "The Scarlet Letter," by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Read an analysis of "Beloved" (which is a true slavery story that took place in Boone County, Kentucky), Hawpe's misplaced piety and what Eastern High students are saying.
Was the Principal practicing censorship or good stewardship?

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With friends like Saudi King Abdullah, who REALLY needs enemies!?!

With friends like King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, pictured above, who called the American presence in Iraq "illegitimate foreign occupation", do we REALLY need REAL enemies?

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

On the national scene: Congress passes Iraq "pork" bill!

Congress was supposed to have changed with a new Democratic majority. No more "pork", we were told. But not so FAST. Here's to (sound of clicking drink glasses heard here) "porking" of the Iraqi war.

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Legislature ends session, is a special session next?

The Legislative session has ended and while the finger-pointing has already started, the Governor promised to follow up with his earlier call for a special session -- to deal with the state employee retirement crisis. While a special session appears to lack legislative support, with both sides articulating persuasive reasons to have or not to have one, two things are CLEAR: One is that the retirement crisis needs solving; and, two is that without a prior agreement by both Legislative Houses, a special session is pretty much become a WASTE of tax money (the session is expected to cost $60,000 a day)! Judging by where both Houses ended the session yesterday, and considering that the Speaker, Jeff Hoover and Dan Mongiardo have gubernatorial elections to run (May 22nd), one can expect that the House ISN'T going to act now (or they would have already acted) but that the House (at least its Leadership) will defer the issue until a study is completed -- preferably AFTER the November elections and probably not until the next legislative session begins on January 8th. Cannot the issue wait for a study? Your thoughts, if you care to share them.

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Hearing Officer: Mike Duncan was fired for "political reasons".

A hearing officer for the State Personnel Board has issued a 54 page opinion finding that Mike Duncan, the Transportation Cabinet's Deputy Inspector General, was targeted and fired "not from his work performance, but due to a consensus that he must go due to his political beliefs and activities". The hearing officer, John Ryann, deemed the "excessive, erroneous and improper" firing to violate the state merit system law and has recommended that Mr. Duncan be re-hired with back pay.
I have NOT yet seen the 54 page report and I will analyze it when I get a copy. But, I've always believed that any "probationary" employee, such as Mike Duncan, can be fired for NO reason. Apparently, the hearing officer did NOT reach the same conclusion. The Personnel Board can now accept or reject the hearing officer's "recommendations" after which appeals may follow. Stay tuned. I shall post my analysis later.

Update: Here are links, 1 and 2, for the hearing officer's ruling. Though the personnel laws are rather convoluted, they are clear enough for me to render my analysis of the opinion, which is this: when KRS 18A.005, 18A.111, KRS 18A.095(23)(a) and KRS 18A.140 (which provides that "NO Person SHALL be appointed, promoted to, or demoted or DISMISSED from, ANY position in the CLASSIFIED service, or in ANY way favored or DISCRIMINATED against with respect to EMPLOYMENT in the CLASSIFIED service BECAUSE OF HIS POLITICAL or religious OPINIONS OR AFFILIATIONS or ethnic origin or sex or disability (or age over 40)"), are read in conjunction with one another, one CANNOT escape the conclusion that the opinion rendered by the hearing officer is correct. To reach this conclusion, I am of the opinion that the Legislature MUST have intended for this later statute, KRS 18A.140, to operate as an exception to the statutory requirement that an employee FIRST gain "STATUS" (AFTER satisfactorily completing a six (6) month probationary period) before having "standing" to appeal their "separation from their position, reduc[tion] in class or rank or replaced on the eligible list ..." to the Personnel Board. And the facts adduced at the hearing, if believed, are enough to suggest that Mr. Duncan, a classified employee(?), was unlawfully terminated because of his political affiliation with Democrat Ben Chandler, and in violation of the merit system laws.

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Mandatory HPV edict bill dies a worthy legislative death!

Thanks to EVERYONE who worked tirelessly to make the MANDATORY Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) edict bill either be voluntary -- thereby respecting the Natural Rights of parents to decide what is in their childrens' BEST interests on this issue -- or die a worthy legislative death. The bill died in the Senate yesterday. It is amazing what people power will do when we, the people, stand up to the lobbying prowess of drug pushing manufacturers like Merck.

Update: March 29th, 1:22 p.m.: The World Health Organization (the WHO, in conjunction with UNAIDS) has recommended that men be circumcised to prevent the spread off HIV (the virus that causes AIDS), after the world body found that "[b]ased on the evidence presented, which was considered to be compelling, experts attending the consultation recommended that male circumcision now be recognized as an additional important intervention to reduce the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men," and that "[t]he recommendations represent a significant step forward in HIV prevention." We, therefore, expect our lawmakers, who were so quick to appease Merck with the HPV bill, will now pre-file a bill for next Legislative session, to MANDATE circumcision for ALL pre-adult MALES. After all "what's good for the goose" on HPV, ought to be equally "good for any gander" on circumcision ... right!?

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Kentucky will have a run-off election!, "Boni bill" passed.

As I predicted, Kentucky will have a run-off election after-all. I also predict the Republicans will NOT need a run-off, but the Democrats will have to gear up for one, five weeks AFTER the May 22nd primary -- in essence, June 26th at the earliest! The ONLY time a runoff election was held was in 1935 when Lt. Gov. A.B. "Happy" Chandler faced Thomas Rhea, the hand-picked candidate of Gov. Ruby Laffoon. The runoff helped Chandler beat Rhea, to whom he lost the primary election!!
Also, the Legislature managed to pass the so called "Boni bill". The bill provides $2.5 million for hiring up to 80 social workers over the next year and $3.5 million for upgrading security at child-welfare offices around the state and a network of secure parent-child visitation centers.

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C-J's candidate profile: Otis "Bullman" Hemsley.

This is a second in the C-J's series on Kentucky Governor candidates. This time it's the Hemsley/Robbins ticket. Any thoughts?

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Julian Carroll chides Pence ... again, colleague WISELY cautions against "throwing rocks."

On another Senate floor speech, KY Senator Julian Carroll takes issue with Lt. Governor Steve Pence's use of "a Chevy Tahoe, cell phone, Blackberry, Limousine and police protection" and requested that Mr. Pence refund his salary to the state treasury, after Mr. Pence ignored his earlier request to resign. Though Mr. Pence, the subject of the speech, retorted that "[p]erhaps he forgot that he gave this speech once already", the most poignant point of Senator Carroll's floor theatrics was what his colleagues did NOT do; this time, instead of some members applauding like they did before when a similar speech was given, a Democratic Senate colleague of Julian Carroll's, Senator Tim Shaughnessy from Louisville, defended Pence saying the lieutenant governor is "a man of great character." Beyond that, Senator Shaughnessy warned that "[Senators] should perhaps take a good look at [them]selves before ... throwing rocks at others," noting that "I don't have a Chevy Tahoe, but we've all been paid to be up here and I don't want people telling me to write a check [back to the state treasury]."
This sounds like a good advise to me, considering the obvious inability of the Legislature to get much accomplished this session, for which they've been handsomely paid. How about you?

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Off the beaten path: "Brother can't drive".

Every once in a while, I'll take a journey off the beaten path. After all, life doesn't begin ... or end ... in the world of politics. So the above clip is my "off the beaten path" clip of a $1.5 million! ENZO Ferrari being accidentally wrecked. Imagine how many mouths that ENZO will feed!! Enjoy, because the Brother in the picture "can't drive".


Are Kentucky "Democrats kowtowing to organized labor"?

John David Dyche, in his latest column, sees a similarity between the Kentucky Legislature and the British parliament; both he says have the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats and the Labor parties (in Kentucky, "formerly known as House Democrats".) Dyche observes that the "Britain's Labor Party was formed to promote an emerging trade union movement as industrialization changed late 19th Century culture and economy. Kentucky's Labor Party has formed to protect a declining trade union movement as globalization changes early 21st Century culture and economy," before accusing "the Kentucky Labor party" of "habitually put[ting] the perceived interests of this small group [of organized labor] ahead of the public good ... [while] ignor[ing] progressive ideas to move Kentucky forward to a better future."
Powerful indicting statements. Any comments?

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Sen. John McCain: Money is property, NOT free speech!

Senator John McCain, Republican Presidential candidate and co-author of the McCain/Feingold campaign finance law, decries the influence of 527's and soft money, while declaring that "money is NOT free speech. Money is property." Watch his speech here. Do you agree or disagree?

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Monday, March 26, 2007

KY Democrats expect Owens will challenge McConnell in '08!

It appears that Kentucky Democrats are expecting Charlie Owens to challenge Senator Mitch McConnell in '08. According to quotes attributed to Jerry Lundergan, the party chair, "[Charlie Owens] has basically told me that he will be a Democratic candidate [for U. S. Senate]. ... If Charlie wants to be the nominee, then we want him to be the nominee because of the finances he brings to the table." Read it here. Maybe, that was the reason "Checkbook Charlie" decided against entering the Governor's race. Any thoughts on McConnell vs. Owens match-up in '08?

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Life, as we know it, has come to another end!

In another sure sign of the dawning of the digital age, Time, inc, has announced it is discontinuing its weekly publication of LIFE magazine, though the brand name will be kept alive on the web. LIFE is the latest magazine to shut down as more readers desert print publications for online news and photos. Many magazine giants are reorganizing to chase digital profits. Faced with flat revenue, Time Warner's Time Inc., the largest U.S. magazine company, for instance, has laid off hundreds of print staffers in the past year due to flat revenues, while bulking up its digital development staff. Bloggers, of course, have played a HUGE part in this digital revolution.

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Bob Novak: Bush is alone.

For those of you who do not want to read what Syndicated Columnist has to say, you may click another story. Robert Novak is reporting that " with nearly two years remaining in his presidency George W. Bush is alone". Novak continued: "[i]n half a century, I have not seen a president so isolated from his own party in Congress -- not Jimmy Carter, not even Richard Nixon as he faced impeachment. ... [T]he overriding feeling in the Republican cloakroom is that the Justice Department and the White House could not have been more inept in dealing with the president's unquestioned right to appoint -- and replace -- federal prosecutors."
Obviously, Alberto Gonzales' survival as AG depends on whether "prosecutorgate" is successfully resolved, and Bush's success in pushing his agenda depends on how he reverses the "isolationism" within his own party. Can they both pull it off?

Update, 3:00 P.M.: Oh, oh! Monica Goodling, a Justice Department official involved in the firings of federal prosecutors, will refuse to answer questions at upcoming Senate hearings, citing Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination. "The potential for legal jeopardy for Ms. Goodling from even her most truthful and accurate testimony under these circumstances is very real," said her Lawyer John Dowd. Read the unfolding story.
This IS Not good news for President Bush as "Prosecutorgate" threatens comparison to the other "W" -gate and to keep spiraling out of control, even as Republican Senate leaders (including Republican U. S. Senator, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a man I truly admire), call for Gonzales' "head" and revelations indicate he knew more than he has admitted. Maybe, the White House has NOT learned the lesson of "Scooter" Libby: it is the lie (perjury) after afterwards that's legally DEADLY!!

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Republican Senator Chuck Hagel utters the "I" word!

Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska has uttered the "I" word against President Bush and claims there's support for it. Do you AGREE with him or or STRONGLY DISAGREE?
Here's a primer: The Constitution, Article 2, section 4, allows the removal of federal officers (including the President) "from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors." The methods for impeachment are outlined in Article 1, sections 2 & 3: "The House of Representatives shall ... have the sole power of impeachment." "The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments." ONLY two Presidents have EVER been impeached (Andrew Johnson and Bill clinton). No President has EVER been convicted by the Senate and removed from office!

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C-J's candidate profile: Johnathan Miller.

The Courier-Journal is doing a series of profiles of gubernatorial candidates (and their running mates). This time it's the Miller/Maze ticket. Any thoughts?

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Should victims influence legislation?

No, says Larry Webster who argues that "[o]ur current laws on crime and punishment are an abject failure" and that "[w]e are using most of the state treasury to house convicts, while our crime rate goes up and up". All of this, Mr. Webster argues, is due to "the fact that most modern criminal laws were drawn up by victims or prosecutors, with almost zero participation from the criminal element or their lawyers" and that "victims, bearing grief and outrage, are usually irresistible to lawmakers, who listen to the stories of personal tragedy and then pass something stupid and name it after the dead." Is Mr. Webster correct -- should Legislators prefer the advise of criminals -- and/or their Lawyers -- to victims as they craft legislation?

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

For Pat Tillman: Someone needs to be held accountable.

If there's anything that chagrins me about both the "forgotten" Afghanistan war and the Iraq war, it is the SENSELESS death and the ensuing COVER UP by the military brass of the death of Army Ranger, Pat Tillman -- a TRUE American Patriot indeed. Not that his life is worth more than anyone else's, but his ADMIRABLE sacrifice for our nation should not be in vain. So it is comforting to now hear that a Pentagon investigation will recommend that nine officers, including up to four generals, will be held accountable for missteps in the aftermath of his friendly fire death. It is about time, too.


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Some claim Fletcher is "the bully", NOT Stumbo.

Ryan Alessi has an interesting article that suggests that Gov. Fletcher is the bully (in his campaign ad) and NOT Greg Stumbo. Nixonian or proper governance? Read the article, decide for yourselves and FREELY express your opinions here.

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Northup releases education & health initiative, News Enterprise slams Fletcher ad.

Up until now, the Northup/Hoover ticket has been taken to task for not releasing any policy ideas, relying instead on the message that Fletcher cannot win. Well, in response to the criticisms or maybe proceeding according to pre-established plans, the ticket has released its education and health plans for Kentucky's future. The education plan calls for Improving math and science education; Dealing with failing schools; Changing our testing; Having schools reevaluate the way they handle students with special needs; Studying teacher pay and benefits; Teaching All non-English-speaking students English; and explaining why she needs to be the Governor doing these things. On health care: Making private insurance more available, affordable and flexible (Catastrophic Coverage, Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), Tax incentives to expand opportunity, Fairness and transparency, Medical malpractice reform); Cut costs in public health systems and make them look more like the private sector (Medicaid:
Using Private Managed Care Plans); Expanding Long Term Care Insurance to Reduce Medicaid’s Cost; Community health centers; Drug re-importation; and, Explaining why she needs to be the Governor doing these things.

The Northup ticket also pointed out that the Elizabethtown News Enterprise has slammed Fletcher's campaign ad. Here are excerpts: Have you seen Gov. Ernie Fletcher’s first re-election campaign TV commercial, the one where he tries to compare the investigation of his administration’s partisan personnel practices to being bullied by schoolyard tough guys? ... That could be pretty persuasive stuff. If there were any truth to it.
Once voters have viewed the first commercial, surely a prelude of themes to follow, and compared them to the facts that bear the signatures of the governor and his lawyers and the findings of the grand jurors, they will be able to decide for themselves which is fact and which is fiction.

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Rudy Giuliani launches new website.

Women told to cover up "sexy outfits" for Bill Clinton!

I am NOT making this up: Women at a Manhattan fitness studio where told to cover up their "sexy spandex outfits with midriffs showing" at a fund raiser where Bill Clinton spoke. There is NO information released regarding Hillary Clinton's part in the unusual request. You can read about it here. Do you wonder why?

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Person(s) for the week: Former UK basketball Coach, Orlando "Tubby" Smith.

This week we had the continuing saga of "Prosecutorgate" (with our last week's person for the week, AG Alberto Gonzales, still on the hot seat), Congress threatening a Constitutional "showdown" with President Bush, the KY Legislature on the cusp of doing next to nothing this session, and Northup and Fletcher trading endorsements. But this blog cannot ignore the events surrounding the (now) former UK Basketball Coach Orlando "Tubby" Smith. So we choose him as our person for the week, because nothing in Kentucky this week will equal the magnitude in newsworthiness of "Tubby" becoming a "Gopher". Click on on Tubby and ESPN to learn more.


Quote(s) for the week.

1) "I am choosing to do what is best for my state. I will focus my time and energy on the people’s work, not politics."
- Louisiana's embattled Governor, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, announcing that she would not run for re-election. She was a victim of her huge unpopularity after Katrina debacle.

2) "Rush Limbaugh is irrelevant."
- Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) responding to critics, like Rush Limbaugh, who say Schwarzenegger is no longer a Republican.

3) "The days of being in total control of your message are over. I believe we'll see in this cycle one of those Internet videos actually help make a candidate and also help take one down."
- Democratic strategist Joe Trippi, on the internet,
as a political attack ad against Hillary Clinton surpassed 1 million views on YouTube.

4) "It really was unacceptable and inexcusable what happened here."
- Glenn A. Fine, the Justice Department's chief inspector, on the FBI's misuse of its authority in illegally gathering telephone, e-mail and financial records of Americans and foreigners.

5) "It's hard for me to believe that Kentuckians, Republicans especially, would ever elect someone back to office who went before a grand jury and said 'I can't testify without incriminating myself'."
- Anne Northup, on Gov. Fletcher, after recieving the endorsement of Erwin Roberts, Fletcher's former Cabinet Secretary, who also refused to testify before the Grand Jury.

6) "Voters don’t always look at endorsements ... [w]e’ve got a number of folks who are endorsing us as well."
- KY Gov, reacting to the endorsement of his rival, Anne Northup, by his former Cabinet Secretary, Erwin Roberts. Fletcher's campaign later announced his own endorsements.

7) "Tubby Smith deserved a better ending."
- John Clay, Herald-Leader Sports Columnist, on news that UK Basketball Coach, Tubby Smith, was leaving the program for the University of Minnesota's Gophers, under circumstances that suggested the move was NOT amicable.

8) "I feel the love already."
- Tubby Smith, on the tremendous outpouring of support he received from Gopher fans upon being introduced as the Gophers' Head Basketball Coach.


Study: alcohol and tobacco WORSE than some illegal drugs ...

... so why are alcohol and tobacco not BANNED substances and the lesser dangerous "drugs" legal?.

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What are they REALLY saying?: Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT).

This is continuing our series on the answers to questions posed to the gubernatorial candidates by the Herald-Leader. This week's question asks whether it's fair to impose the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), which forces many businesses to pay an "income" tax, even if they are not able to generate a profit. Here's what the candidates are REALLY saying:


Anne Northup: "No, it's not fair. The first, most important thing we need to do is repeal the AM[T] ... ." ANNE WILL REPEAL (ELIMINATE) THE AMT.

Ernie Fletcher: "In 2006, we reduced the AMT by $45 million. We are always looking for ways to lower taxes further." ERNIE IS IN FAVOR OF REDUCING THE AMT.

Billy Harper: "I will work hard ... as a top priority to repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax in Kentucky." BILLY WILL ELIMINATE THE AMT.


Otis Hensley: "I will eliminate the AM[T]. It is a punitive tax, particularly for small businesses." -- OTIS WILL ELIMINATE THE AMT.

Bruce Lunsford: "I’m opposed to income taxes on businesses that are not generating a profit. I believe the AM[T] should be reviewed so that it will not unfairly tax Kentucky businesses." BRUCE WILL ELIMINATE THE AMT FOR BUSINESSES NOT MAKING A PROFIT.

Jonathan Miller: "No, I don’t think that’s fair. ... [R]evise the tax code to provide fairness ... by bas[ing the AMT] on net results." JOHNATHAN WILL REVISE THE AMT TO TAX "NET RESULTS" (PROFITS).

Jody Richards: "I oppose it as unfair to small businesses. ... I don't believe businesses operating in the red should have to pay income tax." JODY WILL ELIMINATE THE UNFAIR AMT FOR BUSINESSES NOT MAKING A PROFIT.

Steve Beshear: "At this time Kentuckians do not need new or higher taxes. [We] need to evaluate the alternative minimum tax ... to measure their fairness and effectiveness." STEVE WANTS TO STUDY IT.

Gatewood Galbraith: The Alternative Minimum [Tax] (AM[T]) is double taxation on corporations and businesses, As Governor, the AM[T] goes out the door. GATEWOOD WILL REPEAL THE AMT.

Steve Henry: Their [Republican} AM[T] has been a horrible burden on Kentucky business, and ... [a]s Governor, I'll fix the AM[T]." STEVE HENRY WILL FIX THE AMT, BUT HE DOESN'T TELL US HOW?

There you have it, in their own words, deciphered!

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Race dogged Tubby's UK tenure, now he may be FREE at last!

I cannot help but see race in Tubby Smith's tenure and departure. When he first came to UK, it was his color (some liked the idea, others reacted NEGATIVELY to it!) that was the topic; then when he won his first championship, those who had problems with his color shut up. As soon as no new championships came along, all those color haters started grumbling. The WORST part of it was that the UK AD and co. started listening (instead of ignoring) these FOOLS. Tubby, being a SMART man, saw the unmistakable hop and the brooding-long-necked-postures of the gathering brood of these "VULTURES" and said "see ya". I would have done the same thing myself, while singing that old Negro spiritual "thank God Almighty, I'm FREE at last!!"

Update: Aside from my view that those who NEVER wanted "Tubby" at UK to begin with, helped nudge him out the door, comes this excellent post from a different albeit political perspective from Ronnie Ellis. Here are excerpts: I love college basketball, especially UK basketball, but I wonder what it says about my state when a coach with a 76 percent winning record decides he’s had enough of fans’ unrealistic demands and what it says when the public has higher expectations for its basketball coaches than its political leaders.
If only Kentucky voters were as demanding of their political leaders as they are of their basketball coaches, state government might get it right 76 percent of the time.

Update #2, 3/24 at !;15 PM: Here's the C-J's editorial on the Tubby story. Here are excerpts:
University of Kentucky basketball coach Tubby Smith's decision to transfer his classy act to Minnesota means that the choice to depart was his.
But there should be no doubt that a concerted effort was made to oust him.
There was UK athletics director Mitch Barnhart's tepid support and vow to review the season with Coach Smith. (You didn't hear such ambiguity from Louisville's Tom Jurich when there was silly unhappiness with Rick Pitino early in the season.)
There were the demands that Mr. Smith replace his assistants, as if any decent head coach is going to insist on less than full personal control over his own staff.
And, last but not least -- in fact, worst -- there was the incessant carping from noisy fanatics among UK supporters, occasionally tinged with racism, that insisted that Coach Smith had somehow failed to live up to the program's "tradition." On at least one occasion, a "for sale" sign was reportedly posted at the coach's house.
UK had better be prepared to try to achieve all that in what may be a very hostile national environment.
Anyone who doubts that should watch the video of Dick Vitale's tirade (there will be similar comments in other outlets) about the shabby treatment of a coach with Mr. Smith's record, including coach of the year awards and a national championship.
Mr. Vitale didn't mention race, but one suspects it may occur to African-American athletes whom the new coaching staff want to entice to UK.

Update #3: Watch as Tubby Smith starts "feeling the [Gopher] love," and UK advertises for a new coach!

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Roberts endorses Northup, Fletcher & Harper downplay it (Fletcher announces more endorsements), Henry "digs deeper", Beshear touts energy plan.

Here are the local political news of the day. On the Republican side: Northup/Hoover campaign snags a leaked endorsement of Erwin Robert's who served as Fletcher's Personnel Secretary and the Chair of the Task Force charged with investigating the merit system abuses. (Fletcher later appointed him to the UK Board of Regents and his wife to the EKU Board of Regents). Erwin Roberts stated that Fletcher "misled" him about doing things differently during his administration and that he has been able to view events "at arm’s length" to find the whole merit system episode distatesful. He is also said to have remarked: "I'm personally supporting Anne Northup based upon her record of leadership with character and integrity," ....I have no doubt she will apply those same character traits as our next governor and will lead with distinction." Fletcher downplayed the endorsement stating that "voters don’t always look at endorsements ... [w]e’ve got a number of folks who are endorsing us as well," and announced his endorsements from three county judge-executives from (Duane Murnier of) Oldham Co., (Rob Rothenburger of) Shelby Co. and (Ray Powers of) Breckinridge Co. Billy Harper also released a statement that "We're going to continue talking about issues important to Kentuckians, such as education and economic development, rather than endorsements from politicians."
On the Democratic side: Steve Henry keeps "digging" and refusing to take my FREE advise to speak ONLY to his Lawyer. He has TRIED to respond to the ethics lawsuit filed by his former campaign worker/manager by pointing out he raided his "Testing the Waters" campaign account in 2006 because he was testing the waters for a possible Senate run! I RENEW my FREE advise to Steve Henry!! And, the Beshear?Mongiardo ticket emailed me their new energy plan. According to the ticket, the "Fueling Kentucky First" plan, which is available on their website, "is highlighted by two primary initiatives. First is the creation of a $60 million Kentucky Energy Fund to help jump-start the development of alternative fuel and new clean coal technology industries in Kentucky. The second is the creation of a cabinet level Secretary of Energy Independence to focus efforts on revamping the way the state does business when it comes to purchasing, consuming and regulating energy and alternative fuels."
Unless Roberts (an un-indicted co-conspirator in the merit system fiasco) makes damning statements regarding the investigation, his endorsement, to me, did not carry much weight -- other than possibly reinforce that nagging "sinking ship" feeling. Any thoughts?

Update: I have managed to upload Erwin Roberts' resignation letter, pages one and two.

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White House "Prosecutorgate" bumbling, Congressional subpoenas and Constitutional "showdown at the OK Corral".

A few posts back, I warned that the White House needed to get a hold of "Prosecutor" or it will spiral out of control, like the merit system fiasco did in Frankfort. Follow the time line. Well, it may be too late (though one hopes not). Both Houses of Congress have now authorized their respective Judiciary Committee Chairs to issue subpoenas for Bush top aides. The Bush Administration has indicated that its offer to allow White House aides to testify in private and without oath will be withdrawn and Congressional efforts to force the issue resisted. This "showdown at the OK Corral" between two constitutional "equals" (the Executive and the Legislature), unless resolved, will force our courts to resolve the constitutional crises. Stay tuned to see how this plays out. If it leads to court action, I will give you my legal analysis and my prediction of which of the waring branches of government will ultimately triumph.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

YouTuber spoofs Hillary Clinton as President.

On the heels of my post about the YouTube comes the above video depicting a Hillary Clinton Presidency. It has been dowloaded or watched for nearly 2 million times in three days!

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**** Robert Novak: Kentucky LEANS Northup. ****

About a week ago, I sent a request to respected and reputed political strategist and columnist, Robert Novak, of the Evans and Novak fame, to review the Kentucky Governor's race. I did not believe he would, frankly, but here is his published opinion excerpted:

Kentucky: Republicans here feel strongly that Gov. Ernie Fletcher (R) has gotten a raw deal with respect to the scandal over hires he made outside the state's civil service system. However, they are equally convinced that he will not be re-inaugurated next January. The only question, therefore, is whether he loses the May 22 primary or the November 4 election.

1. Fletcher has alienated two key groups in Kentucky's Republican Party -- first the grassroots organizers who got him elected in his close 2003 race, and second his Republican allies in the state legislature. To the former, he gave early impressions of ingratitude and neglect, and many of them have abandoned him by now. The latter complain that he has behaved in an aloof manner, not unlike the way President Bush dealt with the congressional majority when he still had it.

2. The business community has also been upset with much of Fletcher's work. Fletcher pushed through a so-called "tax modernization plan" that included one of the most hated of all taxes for small businessmen -- an alternative minimum tax for businesses based on gross revenues. As a result, the state is raising excessive revenues on the backs of low-margin small businesses, even those with bad balance sheets.

3. Despite promises during his 2003 election campaign to make Kentucky more business friendly, the state has dropped from the 29th to 36th most business-friendly state in the United States since 2004, according to the National Federation of Independent Businesses. The tax change played a significant role in that.

4. Former Rep. Ann Northup (R) is already nearly even with Fletcher in the polls, and she must be favored to win the primary. Despite what some view as a sluggish fundraising operation early on, she has hit her stride for the most part.

5. The winner of this Republican primary must take 40 percent to avoid a primary runoff. A third candidate, businessman Bill Harper (R) -- who served as Fletcher's finance chairman in his 2003 election -- will sop up a significant portion of the vote in his native Western Kentucky, the most Republican part of the state. This could make it difficult to get 40 percent.

6. Still, Fletcher's support lags even at a time when he is on television and Northup is not. The real state of play in the GOP primary should become clearer when Northup takes to the airwaves in April. Leaning Northup.

So what's your take on this?

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Harper decries KY business unfriendliness, Fletcher says unemployment improved & Northup hints at Fletcher's former top official's endorsement.

The campaign of Billy Harper released a statement decrying the business unfriendliness of Kentucky, citing the Pollina Corporate report that ranked Kentucky 45th in the nation. Fletcher's office, meanwhile, released a report showing that unemployment improved in 88 counties between January 2006 and 2007. And, the Northup camp is releasing a statement that "another former top-ranking official in Gov. Ernie Fletcher's administration is expected to back his GOP primary opponent Anne Northup." The first one was Lt. Governor Steve Pence (after U. S. Senator Jim Bunning's endorsement and U. S. Senator Mitch McConnell's "formidable opponent" un-endorsement "endorsement"). Not sure yet who it is, so stay tuned. My guess? Darrell Brock or one of the officially fired, like Dick Murgatroyd, or an unofficially "fired" guy, like Erwin Roberts. I'll let you know as soon as I know.

UPDATE: It is Erwin Roberts, who served as Fletcher's Personnel Secretary and Chair of his Merit System Task Force! -- so says Mark Hebert of On the Mark. Oh, last year, after he 'resigned" his post, Fletcher appointed him to the U. K. Board of Regents!!

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Should we get rid of, or limit, the (Presidential) pardon?

With every opportunity to grant a Presidential pardon, there invariably arises the question of whether we (as a society) could fare BETTER if we got rid of the that Presidential power. This time it's "Scooter" Libby that may be the subject of a Presidential pardon, and the wisdom of allowing the President that power has arisen again. This Joel Stein column makes for an interesting reading. Here are excerpts:
It's not that I care if "Scooter" Libby gets pardoned. Sure, he obstructed justice, but putting someone named Scooter in jail seems a little harsh. Putting someone named Scooter in elementary school seems a little harsh.
I object to the idea of the pardon itself. I might have dropped my political science major, but I know that giving one person the right to let people out of jail without any reason might lead to abuse of power. This is why we don't give one person the right to put people in jail without any reason.
I know the pardon leads to corruption because if I were President Bush, I'd pardon the hell out of Libby. If a guy working for me got arrested for essentially protecting my No. 1 employee, and I had an unlimited stack of get-out-of-jail-free cards, I'd slip him one for sure.
The pardon, which had been the right of the monarch since Henry VIII, was put into Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution by Alexander Hamilton, who argued in the Federalist Papers that without it, "Justice would wear a countenance too sanguinary and cruel." Hamilton did not realize that in the future, judges would cry about Anna Nicole Smith. He also didn't realize that challenging Aaron Burr to a duel might kill him. So maybe we shouldn't be taking advice from the guy.
It turns out that despite Hamilton's expectations, not many poor people without political connections get spared the cruelty of justice. In fact, almost all presidential pardoning has been bad policy. The first one was used by George Washington to forgive members of the Whiskey Rebellion. I don't know all that much about the Whiskey Rebellion, but I'm guessing from the words "whiskey" and "rebellion" that these might not be the first guys you'd want to let out of San Quentin. Unless the only other people there were members of the Meth Rape Bunch.
To unite the country, Andrew Johnson kept pardoning Southerners for fighting in the Civil War, thus emboldening that culture so much that we got Confederate flag decorations, Stone Mountain and the Iraq war. Jimmy Carter forgave Vietnam draft dodgers, which took away all their edge, leading directly to yuppiedom, David E. Kelley TV shows and the Iraq war.
Most other pardons went to powerful friends of the president: Richard Nixon pardoned longtime supporter Jimmy Hoffa; Gerald R. Ford pardoned Nixon; Carter, in the most 1970s pardon possible, granted one to Peter Yarrow from Peter, Paul and Mary for taking off his clothes and hitting on two teenage sisters. Ronald Reagan, in the most '80s pardon possible, let campaign contributor George Steinbrenner off the hook. George H.W. Bush let Nixon campaign donor Armand Hammer and all his fellow Iran-contra friends go; Bill Clinton handed pardons out to anyone who told him he was pretty.
Pardoning subverts justice, snubbing the democratic concept of being judged by your peers. If Nixon had stood trial, the truth would have healed the country far more than trying to ignore Watergate, and the presidency might have been taken down a peg. If Caspar Weinberger had gone to jail, perhaps future presidents -- and their henchmen -- might have trod more carefully on our laws. ... .

Care to comment?

Lunsford airs first ad, C-J's David Hawpe demurs.

Bruce Lunsford/Greg Stumbo's gubernatorial ticket ran its first political ad -- the first of any Democratic candidate and the second following Fletcher's of last week. Here is the YouTube ad, which the ticket is gushing about. David Hawpe, Columnist for the C-J, demurs. Is the ad a home run or a fowl ball?

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I love Chinese food; my wife loves Mexican food ...

... If you believe this story, we are both in nutritional trouble!

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

On Iraqi timeline: The "Ayes" have it. Cha-Ching!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Tom Delay's epiphany is worth a read.

Tom Delay's new-found epiphany is worth a read, though one has to wonder if Tom Delay is itching for a (political) re-birth or payback?

Update: Delay's book is called "No retreat, No surrender" and I receive no compensation for talking about it here!

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*** SURVEYUSA poll: Fletcher's numbers fall -- again. ***

Mark Hebert of On the Mark is reporting, and Bluegrassreport is confirming, that a new SURVEYUSA poll is out. They suggest that the Governor's poll numbers are down from last month -- from 36 to 32 approval, with from 59% to 63% disapproval (46% of Reps. now approve, down from 50%). Mark Hebert should know because he works for WHAS 11, which jointly conducted the poll with SURVEYUSA, and he confirmed the existence of the UNPUBLISHED poll results to me. I will update this post as soon as I can confirm the results OFFICIALLY! So stay tuned.

UPDATE: I have now CONFIRMED the OFFICIAL SURVEYUSA poll results (taken on 3/12/07) and the numbers posted above are CORRECT. What is WORSE is that the Independents' approval of the job the Gov. is doing tumbled from 41% last month to just 22% approve and from 58 to 70% disapprove! Also for those who described themselves as Moderates, ONLY 24% approve, while 74% disapprove!!
Regionally, the Gov. fared best in Western KY where his approval rating went from 40 to 46%, with disapproval dropping from 57 to 51%. In other places, the Gov. lost ground. In Louisville, he went from 32 to 26% approval with disapproval going up from 63 to 73%; in North Central, he went from 33 to 29% approval, and 61 to 65% disapproval; and, in Eastern KY, he went from 44 to 32% approval and his disapproval rose from 53 to 63%!
Could the poll results be a reaction to the Gov.'s campaign ad which starting airing about the time of the poll or could something else be at play here?

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SCOTUS and the "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" case!

There is a case that is being argued before the U. S. Supreme Court as I write. The case is Morse v. Frederick (06-278). The case arose out of the following facts: Juneau, Alaska, high school students were released from school to go and view a school-sponsored, faculty-supervised parade. One of the students, Joseph Frederick, "pulled a prank" and stood across the street from the school grounds and unfurled a "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" banner. The school principal found nothing funny about the "prank" and suspended him for 10 days. Frederick sued and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in, Morse V. Frederick, 439 F.3d 1114 (9th Cir 03/10/2006), relying on Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, 393 US 503 (1969)(where the U. S. Supreme Court held that a prohibition against expression of opinion, without any evidence that the rule is necessary to avoid substantial interference with school discipline or the rights of others, is not permissible under the First and Fourteenth Amendments), found that the school violated Morse's freedom of speech. The issues before SCOTUS now is whether 1) Whether the First Amendment allows public schools to prohibit students from displaying messages promoting the use of illegal substances at school-sponsored, faculty-supervised events; and, 2) Whether the Ninth Circuit departed from established principles of qualified immunity in holding that a public high school principal was liable in a damages lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 when, pursuant to the school district’s policy against displaying messages promoting illegal substances, she disciplined a student for displaying a large banner with a slang marijuana reference at a school-sponsored, faculty-supervised event.
The SCOTUS is not expected to rule before its fall recess. However, I predict the Court will find, applying Tinker principles, that no political speech deserving of protection was uttered by Joseph Morse; and that prohibiting his "Bong" expression is necessary to avoid substantial interference with school discipline or the rights of others. Also, the school principal will not be found liable for any money damages for the disciplinary action. What do you think?

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

An IMPORTANT question to ask: When is a father not a father?

In this modern American society, the question is being asked: When is a father not a father? Should society rely on DNA for the answer, or should the answer depend simply on whomever the baby's mother was married to at the time of the baby's conception? Read this and join the debate.

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Candidates beware: you too could be YouTubed!

The internet, particularly such networking sites as YouTube, which has now created You Choose '08 to track Presidential ads, can make or break any campaign. Though the candidates are flocking to such sites as a cheap and convenient way to "deliver their campaign messages", some of the postings have not been intended by the candidates to show their "best faces forward" to the voters. Remember, for instance, Virginia U. S. Senator George Allen's campaign losing (and disastrous) "Maccaca" moment? Many more examples abound forcing candidates to be careful of their unintended YouTube appearances. A few latest examples are this John Edwards "I feel pretty video" and Hillary Clinton's "Star Spangled Banner" moment. So candidates beware: someone out there could arrange an unfriendly Presidential (or other political) appearance for you on YouTube!

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Steve Henry: it may be time to speak ONLY to your Lawyer.

Ryan Alessi has a story today about Steve Henry's continuing "Testing the Waters" account problems and his continued descent into the liar's den, while appearing to give credence to Leslie Holland's assertion that he "has a problem with telling the truth." Today's Alessi story is excerpted here:
Several donors to Henry's fund told the Herald-Leader last month that they thought they were giving to his gubernatorial exploratory committee. Dennis Null, a Mayfield lawyer who ran for state senate in 2004, said he remembers giving to Henry's "exploratory committee" for the governor's race last spring. "I gave $500. I don't know if it shows up anywhere, but I did," Null said last month. That check did show up among the $175,000 in Henry's Testing the Waters account, according to documents filed with Holland's complaint. Byron Lewis, the founder of Western KY Heavy Hauling Inc. -- one of the four companies included in the donor list to Henry's off-the-books account -- also said he gave to an "exploratory committee for governor." Lewis said in an interview last month that "it was the company that gave." "The company felt that it was in our best interest," Lewis said, because many residents in the White Plains, Ky., area are Henry supporters. Henry told reporters last week the only donation from a company was one that is classified as a sole proprietor, an individual who runs his or her own business alone, such as an artist. When asked about Western KY Heavy Hauling, Henry said "that's a sole proprietorship. That's a legal contribution." But Western KY Heavy Hauling has been filing with the Secretary of State's office as a "Kentucky corporation" since 1996.

In another related story, Steve Henry, in an effort to discredit Ms. Holland, told Ronnie Ellis, of CHNI News Service, that "[s]he has a medical condition that has made her behavior inappropriate and perhaps (makes her) unemployable." This statement prompted Ms. Holland to admit to having "an arteriovenous malformation surgically removed from her brain about 15 years ago" which, according to a statement attributed to her physician, Dr. Charles Oates, has the only effect of "a well controlled seizure disorder ... with no other neurological or psychiatric disorders." "Any medical information is personal and private. As a family friend and physician, Steve Henry certainly crossed a line by making personal medical information not only public but also by framing it in a way intended to discredit me personally and professionally," stated Ms. Holland who then promised further legal action against Steve Henry, presumably -- though she did not make clear -- for Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act (HIPAA) violation.
Though I do NOT agree that Steve Henry violated HIPAA by his disclosure, or that Ms. Holland can have a private cause of action against him for that disclosure, I, nonetheless, advise him to QUIT "digging the hole" that he's now in and start speaking EXCLUSIVELY to his Lawyer! And yes, it's that BAD, STEVE!!

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Federal judge gives Bath CJE a COLD "bath".

The jury in the federal trial of the Bath Co. Judge Executive vote buying case has found CJE Walter Shrout, guilty of conspiracy to buy votes, making false statements to a federal agent and obstruction of justice. Shrout was one of twelve people indicted in connection the May 2006 primary, which Shrout won against Michael Swartz, who also pleaded guilty on vote-buying charges. U.S. District Chief Judge Joseph M. Hood immediately ordered Shrout to resign from office by noon Monday. I do NOT know much about Bath County (or Eastern Kentucky politics other than what I've read and heard), but it sure sounds to me like someone got a deserved COLD "bath", pun intended!

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Transpark or Transpork? ...

... Read about it here and here and you be the judge.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Merit system woes continue to split Kentucky GOP.

The merit system continues to be cited as a reason the GOP in Kentucky is splintering, like an old pair of previously beloved jeans pants slowly coming apart at the seams. Pol watchers, for instance, has a story about former Republican Leaders and previous allies now taking sides in this May primary. "I'm supporting Gov. Fletcher," former GOP chair Ellen Williams, is quoted as saying. Meanwhile, now resigned party chair, Darrell Brock, who replaced Williams at the GOP helm, Bob Gable, who served in that position in the '80s and '90's, Joe Whittle, a former U. S. Attorney who also served as party chair in the '80s and who now is stated as saying "I am certainly not for Ernie Fletcher", Clyde Middleton, who served as chair in the '70's and Terry Cammack, who also served as party chair, are all supporting, and hosting fund raisers for, Anne Northup.
And the beat goes on.

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**** Somebody at the White House needs to get a PROPER handle ... ****

... on "prosecutorgate" before the issue spirals out of control, like the merit system fiasco did in Frankfort.

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Person(s) for the week: Alberto Gonzales

This week's person of the week is Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, whose handling (or mishandling) of "Prosecutorgate" (my phrase, borrowed from "Watergate") -- the firing of the eight U. S. attorneys "who serve at the pleasure of the President," -- threatens to do political damage to President Bush and cost some political careers (perhaps, including Gonzales) to implode, unless handled properly. Even some Republican U. S. Senators are (unwarrantably) calling for his resignation!

Honorable mention goes to Karl Rove, the President Bush's political "Tactician" whose fingerprints may well be all over "Prosecutorgate."


Quote(s) for the week.

1) ""I don't care if I win the governor's race or don't win the governor's race ... This is my last office I'm ever going to run for."
- Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Steve Henry, announcing his "last run for office", taking Gov. Fletcher to task for not revealing the names of donors to the governor's legal defense fund until next year, while hypocritically refusing to release expenditures from his federal "testing the water fund".

2) "The situation is characterized by gross and systematic violations of human rights and grave breaches of international humanitarian law."
- a U.N. report that accuses Sudan's government of human rights violations and calls for urgent international action to protect civilians in Darfur.

3) "When members speak not of victory but of time limits, deadlines and other arbitrary measures, they are telling the enemy simply to watch the clock and wait us out."
- Vice President Dick Cheney, urging lawmakers to approve Bush's military financing in Iraq and Afghanistan.

4) "I believe homosexual acts between two individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts."
- Marine Gen. Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, explaining why gays should not serve openly in the armed forces.

5) "I didn't become attorney general by quitting."
- Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, resisting calls for his resignation over the firings of eight U.S. Attorneys.

6) "Past administrations have removed U.S. attorneys. It's their right to do so."
- President Bush, on the "entirely appropriate" firings of eight U. S. Attorneys who serve "at [his] pleasure."

7) "As a businessman, I’m independent of this state’s political establishment and won’t be beholden to any interests."
- Billy Harper, responding to John David Dyche's subtle call to give up his run for Governor and support Anne Northup.


What are they REALLY saying?: Certificate of medical need or free market.

Again this continues our analysis of the responses to questions posed by our friends at Pol watchers. This week's question concerns the medical certificate of need process and the free market. Here are what the candidates said:


Steve Henry doesn't like the free market, though "as Governor, I'll put the free market to work on the kind of health care problems it can solve — and we'll work together to solve the rest!"

Otis Hensley continued his practice of NOT responding to these questions.

Bruce Lunford likes "certificates of Need [which] should be granted based on an objective analysis of community need ... ."

Johnathan Miller "does not [believe in] a change in the certificate process."

Jody Richards made no response!

Gatewood Galbraith believes that "[f]ree market competition can be applied to healthcare facilities ... ."

Steve Beshear made political statements WITHOUT answering the question!


Anne Northup prefers Certificate of need after "a thorough review of the current CON system and any modification ... made [with a view to] increased competition between [health care] providers.

Ernie Fletcher "believe[s] it is important for Frankfort to listen to the demands of the free market [in order] to foster a competitive healthcare market place ... ."

Billy Harper believes "we need to get rid of the Certificate of need."

There you have it, in their own words, deciphered.

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Jack conway shines, Steve Henry dulls.

Democratic candidate for Attorney General has reportedly garnered some impressive endorsements for his race. If he continues at this pace, he may well the presumptive Democratic nominee -- presumptive because endorsements do not necessarily make a winner. You don't believe me? Remember Jack Wood? Nobody in the Republican Party knew or even met him until AFTER he WON the Republican nomination for Attorney General!
Meanwhile, Leslie Holland, a former aide to Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Steve Henry who complained that "Mr. Henry has a problem with the truth", has filed a complaint against Henry with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance. She is alleging that Henry inappropriately used a "testing the waters" campaign fund to lay the groundwork for a run for governor in violation of state election laws. This complaint comes on the heels of a federal investigation over whether Henry accepted corporate campaign contributions in violation of federal election laws.
So while Conway shines, Henry dulls.

UPDATE: This is the best I can do with the Henry Complaint.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

McConnell's Republicans dash Senate Democrats' hopes on Iraq.

Senate Democrats, who wanted to vote on an a timetable for an Iraqi withdrawal, had their hopes dashed by Mitch McConnell's Republicans. Read the story here. The question becomes whether the Democrats will abandon this unproductive venture and seek a more worthwhile course of action or will they continue to attempt to play the losing political game of oneupmanship? I guess only time will tell.

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Fen-Phen diet drug Lawyers catch eye of federal Grand Jury!

By now you must have heard about the Lawyers involved in the Fen-Phen diet drug scandal. If you haven't, you can start reading now, and follow other links in the article to read more. The Lawyers involved, Shirley Cunningham Jr., William Gallion and Melbourne Mills Jr., have been sued by more than 400 former clients who alleged that they took millions of dollars more than they were entitled to in fees from the $200 million diet-drug settlement. It appears now a federal Grand Jury is conducting a CRIMINAL investigation into the scandal. NOT good. NOT good at all for ALL Lawyers, not just those targeted. If you want to know why Used car salespeople are LESS LOATHED than Lawyers, this case is one of too many reasons why!

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

FOX NEWS: Racism or fair and balanced?

Watch the video above and decide for yourself.


Tim Coleman launches campaign website.

Here's an email from Commonwealth's Attorney, Tim Coleman, who is a Republican candidate for Attorney General:

Subject: Tim Coleman Unveils Campaign Website
From: Tim Coleman for Attorney General


March 14, 2007
Contact: Scott Broschart


Announces Aggressive Volunteer Initiative, TeamAG

BOWLING GREEN – Tim Coleman, Republican candidate for Attorney General launched his campaign website today, The website is focused around an aggressive statewide volunteer network, dubbed TeamAG.

TeamAG seeks to bring together volunteers across the Commonwealth, all with the common goal of ending the use of the Attorney General’s office as a political tool for self-fulfilling aspiration.

"This website is part of my commitment to the people of Kentucky to put public service before political ambition." said Coleman

"I encourage those who are fed up with the current partisan state of the AG’s office to join TeamAG and help me return honesty and integrity to the office of Attorney General," Coleman stated.

Tim Coleman is a Commonwealth’s Attorney in Butler, Edmonson, Hancock and Ohio Counties. Prior to that, he served as the Butler County Attorney. He is the only candidate for Attorney General who has experience as a prosecutor.

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Can Hagel or Thompson steal Giuliani's thunder? ...

... yes, say some political pundits, including E. J. Dionne, Jr., because of Giuliani"s (the current leader of the presidential contender pack) lackluster conservative credentials. Stay tuned.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

JDD subtly suggests Harper should drop out for Northup. Does he have a valid point?

I am a fan of John David Dyche. I consider him to be very smart and intellectually astute and I always enjoy his unique take on politics -- at least as much as can be gathered from a learned colleague. Subtlety is never his big forte or is it? Well, his column today seems to be suggesting (subtly?)that Billy Harper, the political equivalent of "Thelma Lou's homely cousin on The Andy Griffith Show who Andy and Barney are cajoling Gomer to take to a dance [because] she's nice. Real nice," should drop out and support Northup. Does he have a valid point?
Read the column and decide. Here's an excerpt: He originally entered the race so Republicans would have an alternative to a supposedly unelectable Fletcher, but now Northup fills that role with much more support from prominent Republicans. So, given the daunting odds against him, why is this bland but good man still burning through his personal fortune in a quest most fair-minded observers deem curious, if not quixotic?
Harper hopes Republicans will turn to him if Fletcher and Northup embark on strategies of mutually desired destruction. He promises a purely positive campaign with no negative attack ads like many monied longshots use to drag down their opponents. Why not?
Because he's nice. Real nice. You know where nice guys finish, and it is unlikely this one can capture the minimum primary vote required to force a runoff election between his rivals.

UPDATE: Here's an update to this post that I received from Sam Edelen, with Billy Harper's campaign. I am publishing it in its entirety:


Sam Edelen with Billy Harper’s campaign. I want to pass along Billy’s response to John David Dyche’s recent column in the Courier-Journal. If you don’t mind, please include this in your post about that piece.


Sam Edelen
Office: 859-266-2007
Mobile: 270-564-5940

Billy Harper: nice guys can finish first

By Billy Harper, Republican candidate for governor

This paper recently published a column by John David Dyche that was childishly critical of me personally, and I write today to address each of the points he raised.

First, he claims that I only entered the Republican gubernatorial primary as an alternative to the current governor, and now that GOP voters have three choices my candidacy is no longer viable. That’s just wrong. Dyche mistakenly dismisses the powerful alternative my campaign represents to Kentuckians who recognize that the leadership vacuum in Frankfort has paralyzed our state government institutions.

What’s more, my campaign is not merely an alternative to any one individual but rather a true choice for voters who have grown weary of this state’s political establishment. I’m a businessman, not a politician. I believe we need new and innovative ideas in state government, not more of the same.

Dyche goes on to assail my personal appearance and public speaking ability, a trivial reaction that avoids the real issue here. As an aspiring author, Mr. Dyche should know better than to judge a book by its cover. Yet that’s exactly what he’s done – reject my ideas based on how I talk and what I look like, a poor precedent for selecting candidates for public office.

If we used Dyche’s standards, Franklin D. Roosevelt, for example, might never have been elected Governor of New York or President of the United States because he was confined to a wheelchair and forced to use crutches. That’s pure nonsense.

The people of Kentucky need to ask themselves an important question. Do they want more of the negativity and mean-spiritedness used by politicians to get elected, or do they want a positive approach to discussing the issues and solving the problems our state now faces?

I don’t look like the candidates you’re used to seeing. I don’t sound like them either. I see this state in different ways. Moreover, I’m not focusing on the issues in this race just because it’s an election year or politically advantageous for my campaign. I’m addressing education, economic development and other important matters because it’s what I’ve done now for more than 20 years as a school board member, education activist and business owner.

Can I win? That answer is up to you, the Kentucky voter. I can guarantee you, however, that I will do my part as governor to set a new course. I’ve been traveling this state tirelessly over the past two months meeting Kentuckians and discussing their own views on how we get better together.

As a businessman, I’m independent of this state’s political establishment and won’t be beholden to any interests other than those of the Kentucky people. I will fight to improve our children’s education system and won’t take no for an answer. I will fight to cut the wasteful pork-barrel spending on political pet projects and won’t back down. And I will fight to repeal the punitive Alternative Minimum Tax and won’t stop until the job is finished.

The choice in this year’s Republican primary is simple: two career politicians or a leader in business. In Kentucky, it’s time for a nice guy with proven ability and the right experience to finish first.

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