Monday, May 22, 2017
I've written before about Louisville's escalating murder rate under Mayor Greg Fisher's watch. The latest victim was only seven years old -- eating cake at the kitchen table Sunday evening. The bullet came through the window, apparently part of a fight in the backyard next door.
Fisher is a nice guy and fairly pro-business for a Democrat. But he is out of his league when it comes to the gang violence and heroin epidemic that threaten to wipe out all the positive changes Louisville has attained in the last 20 years.
The little boy's name: Dequante Hobbs. He lived in the Russell neighborhood and was a second grader at Wellington Elementary, no doubt looking forward to summer vacation starting in just days.
Prayers for peace for his family, repose for his soul, and justice for his murderer.
Thursday, May 18, 2017
Former FBI Director Robert Mueller, who has been appointed as Special Counsel in the Russian investigation should also get to the bottom or why Sen. Rand Paul was surveilled by the Obama administration.
Two reporters have told Paul that they have seen classified information in which his named was unmasked. That means Paul -- a sitting U.S. Senator -- was spyed upon by the executive branch probably by the NSA.
And how is it that two reporters saw this?
The whole thing stinks.
Reprinted with permission of the Courier-Journal:
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin and the new Republican majority in the House must be getting tired of all the winning since the Kentucky General Assembly’s transformational session in January. So much winning. It’s becoming difficult to keep track of all the good news.
For example, last week, Apple announced that it will invest $200 million in the Corning plant in Harrodsburg that makes the Gorilla Glass for iPhones. The money will be used for research and development. Although it is unclear how many new jobs will result, at the very least it secures the future for the Harrodsburg facility. It cannot be a bad thing for a major corporation to spend $200 million in one’s state.
Three weeks ago, Braidy Industries announced that it is building a $1.3 billion aluminum rolling plant in Greenup County, near the Kentucky-West Virginia border. The facility will hire 550 employees with average salary of $70,000. Another 1,000 workers will be needed to build the factory.
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In January, Amazon announced that its $1.4 billion expansion at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) airport will result in 2,700 jobs. That’s the largest single investment in Northern Kentucky ever.
Toyota – which supports 30,000 jobs in Kentucky – last month announced that it is investing an additional $1.3 billion in its Georgetown, Kentucky plant.
It’s a refreshing and dramatic change from past announcements of plants closing and Kentucky losing out to neighboring states year after year when Democrats controlled Frankfort.
The Bevin administration and the Republicans in the legislature deserve credit. This January marked the first time in nearly a century that Republicans have controlled the House. Republicans immediately passed right to work as well as other legislation to make the Commonwealth more business friendly. Tax reform is slated to follow.
Right to work laws allow employees to join a union if they so desire but prevent unions from forcing them to join. Kentucky was the last state in the South, and 27th in the country to pass right to work.
The importance of these legislative initiatives cannot be overstated. Braidy Industries CEO Craig Bouchard said that Kentucky’s passage of right to work contributed to the decision to build the Greenup County facility.
“If Kentucky was not a right-to-work state, you wouldn’t have gotten on the list because it’s so important to us,” Bouchard said.
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The Braidy Industries facility, in particular, is an answer to prayer. Those jobs pay, on average, $70,000 in a county where the median income is $45,400. The new facility would have been good news anywhere, but the fact that it is locating in an area so desperate for jobs is cause for rejoicing. That part of Appalachia has twice the unemployment rate of the rest of the state.
Five hundred Kentuckians in Eastern Kentucky now will have an opportunity to work. Moreover, Bouchard envisions an employee-friendly facility with daycare, a fitness center, and healthy dining services. And Braidy is coordinating with local community colleges to arrange the training and internships that will transition to a career.
The Braidy Industries announcement makes me think of J.D. Vance’s powerful book "Hillbilly Elegy: a Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis." Vance traces his family’s migration from Breathitt County, Kentucky to Middletown, Ohio, in pursuit of factory jobs in what eventually became the rust belt. He portrays poverty and addiction with a rawness that is almost painful to read.
The saddest part of "Hillbilly Elegy" is the sense of hopelessness and helplessness – the feeling that nothing can improve.
Vance’s family grappled with substance abuse and divorce. Although a job is no guarantee of happiness, to the unemployed, it at least offers hope that life can get better, that hard work can be rewarded and lead to independence. It’s a way to provide the most basic needs for those we love. A job confers dignity.
All the recent announcements about economic development represent much more than an increase in tax revenue. Lives will change as a result of these new jobs. The ripple effect will be more than economic.
Kentucky is still a poor state with many problems. However, passage of right to work and other laws to improve the business climate (plus strategic use of tax incentives) has allowed Kentucky to compete for jobs that previously would have gone to other states. Case in point: Braidy Industries picked Kentucky over Indiana.
Kentucky Republicans ran on a specific platform. They are following through on their campaign promises with a sense of urgency and focus. Announcements of new jobs are becoming commonplace. Some will say it’s a coincidence. No matter; let’s keep those coincidences coming.
Thursday, April 27, 2017
Monday, April 24, 2017
One of my childhood friends, Claudia Tenney, was recently elected to Congress for NY-22. Claudia is a strong constitutional conservative.
She was at the White House last week as part of an Executive Order signing ceremony, and had a few minutes to visit with President Donald Trump.
Claudia's son, Trey, is an Annapolis graduate scheduled to deploy to Iraq, yesterday I believe. When Trump heard this, he called Trey to thank him for his service and wish him Godspeed.
It was so unexpected. It's true that his mother is a Congresswoman. But she is just one of 435, and a freshman.
Trump's thoughtfulness reveals a side of him not normally portrayed in the mainstream media. There is so much more to him as a person than the left understands. Thankfully, however, the American people get it.
God bless you both, Trey and President Trump.
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
There has been some anxiety on the right about President Donald Trump's surprise bombing of Syria and then using the Mother of All Bombs ("MOAB" on Isis strongholds in Afghanistan.
I was relieved to see an American president acting like an American president again. Trump said he'd bomb the sh** out of Isis, and he kept his promised.
The Syrians lied to the Obama administration. As recent horrific pictures showed, the Assad regime did not get rid of its chemical weapons. That was a blatant, repeated lie to among others, America's secretary of state. We have a national security interest in countries not lying to our government about their possession of chemical weapons.
The pictures of the children dying from exposure to chemical gas called for a response on a visceral level. The lies to our government about the destruction of chemical weapons also called for a response. The two wrongs dovetailed into something that Trump was right to address forcefully.
I take seriously Sen. Rand Paul's concerns about the U.S. waging unconstitutional wars. There is no reason for Congress to fail to decline war in instances like Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf wars. Certainly those conflicts dragged on long enough that there was plenty of time.
But the strikes in Syria and the MOAB bombing in Afghanistan were in and out -- not protracted wars. A Congressional Declaration of War would have destroyed any element of surprise. And I think the bombings are also distinguishable because we did not send in troops.
Without analyzing precedents on the war powers act, these limited bombings strike me as constitutional.
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Politico has started a new podcast called Women Rule and the latest episode features Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao. I recommend it -- particularly to young women looking to get ahead in male dominated industries.
Chao discusses immigrating to America as an eight year old who spoke no English and didn't know how to use a fork. Although I have heard Chao talk about this experience before, I am always struck by how much her family overcame, and their courage in coming here; Chao's mother stayed back in China with Chao and two of her sisters for three years before they were able to join her husband in America.
It's just extraordinary that Chao rose to serve four different presidents, two as a member of the cabinet. Her family illustrates the American dream. It never fails to encourage me.
Chao had some interesting insights in working in places where she was the only woman. She didn't like sports and therefore could not participate in the banter that preceded the work of meetings. And she decided that because she really was not interested, she would not try to learn a little something about sports and fake it; she was authentic to her own interests.
She was able to become included by virtue of her mastery of subjects like transportation and finance. Subject mastery, Chao observed, is empowering. Women tend to prepare more than men, Chao noted, and that has been her style as well.
Chao advised younger women to not be afraid of making a mistake, particularly misspeaking. In part, that comes from Chao's view of America as a land of second chances. It also reflects her observation that Americans are not like Asians -- who choose words deliberately and listen to others with the expectation they did likewise. In America, there's a good chance no one will remember the mistake, Chao said.
In addition to insights about her leadership style, Chao gives some tidbits about her husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Kentuckians will not be surprised to hear what a considerate spouse he is. Still, it's hard to comprehend the Senate Majority Leader doing laundry.
The Wall Street Journal points out that we are literally running out of time to repeal and replace Obamacare; thank goodness that talks appear to be reviving.
A few points worth highlighting from the Journal:
- HHS Secretary Tom Price has considerable authority to make improvements while the House wrestles with the long term solution. Price can use legal waiver authority to give the states freedom to experiment with alternatives to Obamacare. No, the changes would not be permanent if done in this manner, but if they work, it would make for a stronger argument to make them permanent in legislation.
- Here's where the time crunch comes in; insurers are designing their 2018 products, which will require state approval this summer. More and more insurers will come to the conclusion that they would rather leave a locale than try to service it under existing Obamacare rules. That means less choice (or even no choice) for consumers.
Friday, April 7, 2017
He will be an outstanding justice. His intellect is unquestioned. He's conservative. And as a friend who worked with him at the Department of Justice recalled, he is a kind and decent man.
Another friend who works for Concerned Women of America told me that CWA knocked on literally millions of doors to get Trump elected -- all because of the Supreme Court vacancy.
When Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made a referendum of the open seat, he changed the course of the election and of history. To all those Dems who are still whining about Merrick Garland, if the Dems had won, Hillary Clinton could have renominated him. Nothing was stolen here. McConnell made the open seat the central question of the election, and the Dems lost.
Live long and prosper, Justice Gorsuch.