Thursday, February 19, 2015

My C-J Column on Local Option Sales Tax

Sorry I forgot to link this earlier.  I am not a fan of the proposed local option sales tax. 

This will be an interesting vote in the Kentucky Senate to smoke out the RINOs, as it has done in the General Assembly.

There is no point in even controlling the Senate if Republicans are going to use their power to raise our taxes.   

Bibi: Why I'm Speaking to Congress

Great read in the New York Post, in which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu explains why he accepted John Boehner's invitation to speak to Congress.

He puts the lie to Democrats' assertion that this is just a stunt to boost Bibi's prospects for Israel.  Rather, this is about persuading Congress from acquiescing in an Obama - Iran deal that could lead to the destruction of Israel.

Congressman John Yarmuth, instead of boycotting the speech, should go.  Listen and learn.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Field is Set

After weeks of rumors, we finally know the primary slate for Kentucky's constitutional offices.

I was surprised that Allison Lundergan-Grimes did not run for governor Many had speculated in recent days that her father wanted her to run against Andy Beshear, given the longstanding animosity between the Lundergan and Beshear families.  I had heard the day before Grimes lost by 16 points to Mitch McConnell that her father was already, at that time, lining up support for her to run for governor.

Plainly, she enjoyed the speculation, and therefore not only fueled it but did not extinguish it -- file for reelection -- until the penultimate day.

Jack Conway failed to draw an opponent (other than Geoff Young, more of a gadfly). Nonetheless, Conway is unlikely to win, in my opinion.  Democrats privately said as much and tried with no success to find an alternative to Conway.

Dave Adams gave me a laugh when he pointed out that Young is Buddhist. In a nod to Conway's disastrous Aqua Buddha ad against Rand Paul, Adams points out that "Conway has a pretty bad track record with the Buddha."   

I look forward to seeing what Conway's Aqua Buddha moment will be in this campaign. I view that as an inevitability, stemming from Conway taking himself way too seriously.

There will probably be some hilarity on the Republican side, now that Matt Bevin is running. Reporters will need to check his daily schedule to see if he's attending any cock fights.

Here's My CJ Column

The topic is Louisville's proposed Bike Share program.  Here's the link. Although Darryl Isaacs was not riding a Bike Share bicycle, his accident underscores my concerns about bikes in heavy traffic.  Here's wishing Mr. Isaacs a speedy recovery.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Shaking It Up In The KY House, A Little

CN/2 is reporting that Kentucky House Republicans have created a new position in party leadership: Chair of the House GOP Campaign Committee.

Rep. Jonathan Shell will fill the new role; he was elected unanimously  House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover (who was reelected despite a challenge) created the new position with a view to taking over the House majority in 2016.

I am glad the caucus recognized that it needs to try something new after November's disappointment of  Republicans failing to take the House yet again despite Mitch McConnell's 15 point win.  I'm pleased that House Republicans didn't wait to get started.

Shell, according to Hoover, is hard-working and has taken the initiative on fund-raising in the past.  He will continue to focus on fundraising as well as candidate recruitment. He points out in his interview that House Republicans raised an "unprecedented" $500,000 last election.

Raising money is not enough.  There needs to be an autopsy on what went wrong last cycle. Did the "unprecedented" money raised go to pay political consultants who promise much but deliver little?  What will be done differently this time?

Until Shell can give a sober and detached assessment of the mistakes of 2014, he will have a hard time convincing donors to give once more to "flip the House."  Indeed, we have heard so much in recent years about plans to "flip the House" that the expression has become hackneyed, sort of a code for impending defeat.

So Shell's first task should be to come up with a replacement slogan for "flip the House."

Monday, December 29, 2014

Obama Never Ceases to Amaze

It is no secret that President Barack Obama suffers no insecurity issues.  To the contrary, his sense of self-worth is wide and paved with self love.

So this story should come as no surprise, and yet it shocks me:  Obama booted off of a Hawaiian golf course two Army Captains who had planned to marry there.  They were forced to relocate their wedding to suit the president's tee time.

To be sure, Obama gave them 24 hours.  Anyone who has ever planned a wedding can imagine the inconvenience, outrage and panic the poor bride must have felt.  Well, maybe not panic.  She is, after all, an Army Captain and presumably resilient, courageous and used to overcoming adversity.  This was not, however, a foray by an enemy or a terrorist attack:  it was Obama, playing golf.  Something he gets to do - a lot.

Obama is the Commander-in-Chief to both this bride and groom. His rudeness in displacing any couple in these circumstances is hard to comprehend; to do so to his soldiers is disgraceful.

Obama called the couple and apologized.  Maybe he didn't know that his underlings had told the bride and groom to go elsewhere.  However, that doesn't give a lot of comfort because it simply reconfirms the perception that Obama's staff is arrogant and unchecked.  The tone is set from the top.

The fish rots from the head.  

Friday, December 19, 2014

Grimes Gives Rand a Gift

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes might have thought she was sounding tough recently when she told Sen. Rand Paul that she will go to court, if necessary, from keeping Paul from appearing on the ballot twice.

Grimes told WHAS 11's Joe Arnold:

The law is clear,” Grimes told WHAS-TV in Louisville. “You can’t be on the ballot twice for two offices.”
“We’ll look to the court for any guidance that is needed,” she added. “And at the end of the day, we’re not going to be bullied.”
That removes a legal hurdle for Paul, a doctrine called standing, that might have been problematic for him but for Grimes's statement.  Standing is a doctrine that court's use to avoid ruling on a case.  It requires that the plaintiff have a particularized injury that could be redressed by the relief sought in the case. That allows courts to dismiss cases where the connection between the relief sought and the injury alleged is speculative.  
For Paul, standing might have been an issue if he challenged Kentucky's statute prohibiting one's name from appearing on a ballot twice.  If Paul brought suit before he had actually filed to run for both the U.S. Senate and the presidency, there is a very real possibility that the court would dismiss on either standing or ripeness.
Grimes's comments, however, make clear that Paul's injury is neither speculative nor premature.  She has, in effect, teed up his legal challenge for him by removing several possible procedural hurdles.

My C-J Column On Free Trade

In case you missed my Courier-Journal column on free trade this week, here's the link.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Jeb is Running

Jeb Bush has just announced on FaceBook that he has" decided to actively explore the possibility of running for President of the United States."  This is no surprise; one of his good friends told me last March that Jeb would run. 

I wish him well.  I really do.  

But I do not want to see him become the nominee.  It is not his last name.  I think the Bush fatigue that the country experienced at the end of W's term has largely dissipated due the incompetence and mendacity of Obama.  Every day that Obama remains in office makes W look better by comparison.  (Hell, Jimmy Carter looks better by comparison).

 Jeb is by all accounts a smart and decent man.  However, he is not conservative enough on immigration or on Common Core.  

I am sick and tired of the Republican party nominating moderates.  When we nominate moderates we lose.  We saw this with Ford, Dole, Bush 41's bid for reelection, McCain and Romney.  All moderates.

When we nominate bold and unapologetic conservatives -- Reagan and W -- we win.  To my mind, Jeb would govern more like his father than his brother.

To be sure, he'd be a better president than Hillary or Fauxaontas.  If he is the nominee I will therefore support him.  I just hope that isn't the case. 

Mayor Fisher to Veto Minimum Wage Hike

Louisville Mayor Greg Fisher announced last night that he will veto the Metro Council ordinance that would raise the minimum wage to $10.10.

Fisher said that he supports a minimum wage hike on a state-wide and national basis.  The problem with just raising the minimum wage in Jefferson County, he explained, is that it would drive jobs to nearby counties.

That's the same point I made in my Courier-Journal column a few months ago. I have to commend Fisher for his courage in taking this position, for which he took tremendous heat on Twitter immediately upon announcing it.  For a Democrat, Fisher has been relatively pro-business.

Where Fisher gets it wrong is that a state-wide minimum wage hike takes the same problem and just magnifies it; jobs would flow to states surrounding Kentucky that have not raised their minimum wage. A national minimum wage increase, according to the CBO could cost America between 600,000 to one million jobs.

My youngest son, reading the rants against Fisher on Twitter, observed to me that the market is already pricing labor above the current minimum wage.  That's why he earned $9 and hour for flipping burgers.

The minimum wage is a terrible policy that hurts those it is designed to help:  the poor and unskilled, particularly young minorities.  Instead of increasing the minimum wage, it would be better to repeal it altogether.


Monday, November 24, 2014

The Obamnesty Travesty

My column in this Wednesday's Courier-Journal will address Obama's Executive Amnesty and the underpinning of Obama's legal education that in my opinion helped him rationalize that overreach.

One point that space did not permit:  Obama's Executive Amnesty will disproportionately harm blacks, the one voting block that has been most devoted to him.  Katie Kieffer makes that point on Townhall, here.  It makes me quite sad.  Obama has taken advantage of the loyalty of blacks to beef up another part of his coalition, Hispanics, that vote for Democrats but in less reliable numbers.

Those poor blacks who are struggling for employment now will find their prospects changed, alright, thanks to Obama.  He has taken these voters for granted for too long.

That's why Sen. Rand Paul's outreach efforts -- echoed locally here by Jefferson County GOP Chair Nate Haney -- offers a real alternative to voters who Democrats have failed.