Monday, June 30, 2008

Hillary Clinton Gets Manicure!!!

It's true! The woman who made pantsuits unfashionable gets manicures. And she has a security detail. No wonder the Demo-blogs backed Barack Obama. (Oh, wait, his wife has a security detail and also gets manicures.)

Hillary, however, doesn't use just any cheap polish. She uses the fancy, designer paint:

Essie has made a name for itself in nail salons across the country as the colors with the catchy names. Some of them include "Fishnet Stockings," "Sugar Daddy," and "Room with a View."

I'm betting that Bill's favorite (on Hillary) is "Fishnet Stockings." Monica would get way mad if she wore "Sugar Daddy."

Caroline Burckle Makes Finals at Olympic Trials

Louisville native Caroline Burckle has advanced to the finals in the women's 400 meter free. She will swim tonight in Omaha for a position on the U.S. Olympic team.

Burckle finished 4th earlier today with a time of 4:06.74. The top two finishers automatically receive a spot on the team; relays are sometimes filled out with those who placed below second. Burckle will swim in lane six; Katie Hoff (who set a world's record in the 400 IM yesterday) will be in lane four. Hoff qualified with a time of 4:05.61.

Burckle's brother, Clark, swam in the finals of the men's 400 IM last night, in which Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte both set world records.

Burckle's team mate Abbie Fish, who also swims for Lakeside SeaHawks, finished 57th with a time of 4:19.46.

Also swimming tonight in the finals for the women's 100 fly, Kentuckians Elaine Breeden and Rachel Komisarz, seeded second and third respectively, will try to knock off Christine Magnuson for a spot on the team.

Kentucky's strong showing in the Olympic trials is almost unfathomable. Merely 2,200 Kentuckians swim competitively, compared to approximately 15,000 in Indiana and Illinois.

Update: In the finals for the women's 400 free, Caroline finishes 4th with a personal best time of 4:05.09. Katie Hoff and Kate Zeigler finish first and second and thereby win automatic spots on the U.S. Olympic team.

In the women's 100 fly finals, Elaine Breeden finishes 2nd and Rachel Komisarz third, with times of 58.21 and 58.36, respectively.

Update on Local Swimmers at Olympic Trials

In the women's 100 meter back, Heidi Hatteberg placed 116 (1:05:76) at the U.S Olympic team trials in Omaha.

In the women's 100 breast, Elizabeth Tinnon placed 7th (1:08:93). Abby MacGregor placed 31st (1:10:87), and Devon Callaghan finished 76th (1:12:84)

Michelle Obama Gets Manicure!!!

First Lady-in-waiting Michelle Obama indulges in that right of maintenance that Demo-blogs attribute only to Republican women: the manicure. From the official Obama website:

I’m still trying to find time for myself, getting the hair done, (audience laughs) yeah, come on, let’s not pretend we don’t know that getting the hair and nails done is important, and getting a workout ladies. That’s one of the things I always talk about, gotta exercise, so I am still trying to do that. And to top it all off, I have the pleasure of doing it all in front of the watchful eyes of our friends in the back. (audience laughs, Michelle waves to media) What’s up people? (more laughter) Other than that, things haven’t changed much. (laughter).

Ditch-Mitch is still writing about Elaine Chao getting her nails done this weekend. Chao, like Obama is accompanied by a security detail. But note the double-standard. Demo-blogs accuse Chao of wasting taxpayers' money because she is forced to take security with her as "progressive" voyeurs film her going about the most mundane and private aspects of her life.

Of course, they'd have to level that accusation at Obama from a distance, since the Obamas can't be bothered coming to Kentucky.

So glad the wives are off the table.

Obama's Moveon.Flip-flops

Barack Obama is getting a jump on July 4th by adding old-fashioned appeals to patriotism in his campaign speeches, though his rhetoric does not square with his voting record.

For example, Obama criticized Moveon.org for its full page ad in the New York Times last year that called General David Patraeus "General Betrayus." Obama, however, refused to vote in favor of a Congressional resolution that condemned the ad.

Likewise, though his "major speech on patriotism" attacked Moveon.org, Obama has not disavowed Moveon.org's nationwide bake sale drive held last week to raise funds to elect him.

And Obama added to the body count under his campaign bus by disavowing comments by General Wesely Clark, who said that John McCain's military service did not qualify him to be commander-in-chief.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Kenny Perry Wins Buick Open And A Spot On Ryder Cup Team

To change the sports subject, we are also pleased that Kentucky's own Kenny Perry won the Buick Open today. As the Associated Press reports, this victory assures Perry a spot on the American team when the Ryder Cup is played at Valhalla in September.

Way to Go, Clark! (and Other Kentucky Swimmers)

Louisville native and St. X alum Clark Burckle swam like he was on fire at this morning's U.S Olympic team trials in Omaha. Clark placed 7th in the men's 400 meter individual medley prelims with a time of 4:18:78. He has qualified to advance to the next round. Clark is a member of the Lakeside SeaHawks and attends college at Florida State.

Ryan Lochte edged out Michael Phelps for first place with a time of 4:13:38.

Update: Clark did not swim his 100 breast (maybe resting up for semi-finals in the IM). In the women's 100fly, Lakeside's Rachel Komisarz placed 3rd (58:44), and former Wildcat Aquatics swimmer Elaine Breeden placed 2nd in prelims (58:03). Manual and Lakeside team mates Leah Reinhardt and Abbie Fish also swam. Reinhardt finished 58th (1:01:34) and Fish placed 94th (1:02:31).

Update: Clark held seventh place (4:19:24). Michael Phelps beat Ryan Locte with a new world record in the finals of the men's 400 IM.

Rachel finished second in the semi-finals of the women's 100 fly and Elaine Breeden finished third. Both advance to the finals.

We are proud of all our Kentucky swimmers just for qualifying for the trials!

C-J Loves Piglet (D-KY)

The Courier-Journal makes no pretense that it is a detached and impartial gatekeeper of the news. Take its coverage of earmarks flowing to Kentucky.

This week, it ran a flattering account of Congressman John Yarmuth delivering a whopping $900,000 in earmarks for assorted projects in Louisville.

But the paper ignored a news release about a much bigger prize -- $10 million -- that Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell procured for U of L. The C-J ignored an earmark that is ten times the size of what Yarmuth obtained.

Its coverage was exactly opposite of what a rationale reader would expect. Size matters.

The paper complains about pork, except when it comes from Yarmuth, whom it shamelessly promotes for reelection. The difference in the coverage cannot be explained by the number of zeros in the earmark, but rather the "D" next to Yarmuth and the "R" next to McConnell.

C-J Not Quite On Cue

It took the Courier-Journal a few days to link its outrage over the Supreme Court's Heller opinion with the shooting rampage in Henderson. They've given a double-dose to make up for the delay --both the lead editorial and a David Hawpe column.

Apparently the philosopher-kings at the C-J needed time to debate and decide whether to follow the New York Times and condemn Heller or praise of Barack Obama, who now believes that the second amendment allows bitter people to cling to their guns. Score one for the Old Grey Lady.

Elaine Chao Gets Manicure!!!

Ditch-Mitch has posted blogs that are inaccurate, illogical and even profane. Now they've sunk to a new level -- filming Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao as she goes to get a manicure. Who says the Democrats have run out of ideas?

The Demo-blog didn't articulate the point, but it seems they don't like the Secretary riding to the nail salon accompanied by her security detail. That's rich, given that the Demo-bloggers were stalking her.

If the Demo-blogs insist on sinking to the level of ET and Extra, the least they could do is provide the facts, all the facts. Inquiring minds want to know: did the Secretary get a French manicure, or color? And if color, what shade? Kentucky women like red this year.

Yarmuth's Remedy For Pelosi

We knew Congressman John Yarmuth is into "messaging" for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but last week he became literally a mouthpiece for San Fran Nan. At her weekly press conference on Thursday, Pelosi had lost her voice, so she brought along Yarmuth, as well as Congressman Ed Markey of Massachusetts, to speak for her. According to the Washington Post,

Pelosi said she'd been advised that "something stronger" might really help her recovery, particularly a "good shot" of alcohol. She said that the Kentuckian Yarmuth might endorse that kind of liquid cure. "Some specific brands as well," Yarmuth joked.

No need to dilute it with all the water Yarmuth carries for Pelosi.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Drivers Vote: Pass This!

Republicans have proposed new energy legislation that strips away many of the sources of oil and gas to which Democrats have objected, like drilling in Alaska, clean coal and nuclear energy. It's an appeal to bipartisanship to address the issue that most concerns Americans: gas prices.

This bill is the most realistic prospect we have seen of Congress actually doing something to reduce the price of gas.

Human Events described the legislation:

The four-step plan to “find more, use less” includes the promotion of offshore drilling, oil shale exploration, utilizing plug-in electric vehicles and improving the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) with increased funding, staff and regulation.

Even the New York Times payed attention:

In a rather dramatic show of force, 22 Senate Republicans attended a news conference in a grassy park outside the Senate office buildings to trumpet the Gas Price Reduction Act of 2008. Most of them did not get a chance to speak, underscoring their dedication to the issue, since most senators do not relish playing a backdrop role. . . .

None of the proposals were new, but the Republicans said they were reaching out a hand to Democrats by not including a provision to allow oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which the Democrats oppose.

“When we say, ‘deep shore exploration,’ ” Mr. Alexander said, “they say ‘no we can’t.’ When we say ‘oil shale development,’ they say ‘no we can’t.’ When we say ‘more nuclear power to plug in electric cars and trucks,’ they say ‘no we can’t.’ We want to make it easier for them to say, ‘yes we can,’ so we can get a result that will lower gas prices. The American people don’t want us to be up here talking trash. They would like us to be up here, getting results.”

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell wrote the legislation.

Looking for the Courier-Journal's coverage of the one bill readers might care about? Go to the article entitled, "Gas hits $4.30 a gallon, leaves drivers fuming." Then go to the jump on D2 and look at the bottom of the page. It's buried better than King Tut.

McConnell Vindicated on Campaign Finance

Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has long opposed "campaign finance reform" on the grounds that it limits free speech. Yesterday's U.S. Supreme Court ruling suggests that Justice Samuel Alito -- and perhaps a majority of the Court -- agree with McConnell.

The Court struck down the "millionaire's amendment" that waived the contributions limit for candidates running against millionaires who self-fund their own campaign.

As McClatchey noted, McConnell's opposition to the "millionaire's amendment" comes at a steep cost:

Ironically, Thursday's Supreme Court ruling gives McConnell's Democratic opponent, Bruce Lunsford, the leeway to fund a stronger campaign against the senator, said Jennifer Duffy, a senior editor with the Cook Political Report.

"The ruling will allow Lunsford to spend as much money as he wants without any recourse from McConnell," Duffy said.

Lunsford, a wealthy Louisville businessman, has coffers capable of bankrolling his campaign. Though he initially wrote in filing papers to the FEC that he doesn't intend to spend his own money, Lunsford became the first Kentucky candidate ever to trigger the millionaire's amendment when he pumped more than $1 million of his own money into his bid for U.S. Senate.

During his unsuccessful 2003 and 2007 runs for governor, Lunsford pumped $14 million of his own money into the campaigns.

After the toxicity of Hillary Clinton, and the endless parsing and backpedaling of Barack Obama, McConnell's respect for the first amendment reminds us that public servants are called to put country ahead of their own hides.

New Senate Poll Shows McConnell Up

The Rasmussen poll continues to lurch along, this time towards Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. The poll shows McConnell up by seven points (48-41) over perennial candidate Bruce Lunsford.

Last month, Rasmussen asserted that McConnell was down by five points. It's hard to believe a poll that swings twelve points for no apparent reason.

McConnell's favorable rating, according to the poll, is 56 percent (40 percent unfavorable). Lunsford is viewed favorably by only 43 percent (46 percent negative).

Aside from its weird volatility, the Rasmussen poll is good reading for political junkies who like irony and understatement:

Lunsford founded a health care company in 1985 that has been a topic of conversation in earlier campaigns and will likely be scrutinized again between now and November.

"Topic of conversation"? When Ben Chandler essentially called Lunsford Dr. Kevorkian, and accused him of dumping comatose medicare patients, that was a "topic of conversation"?

Rasmussen also runs something called Rasmussen markets, where participants can buy and trade politicians like a fantasy baseball team. According to Rasmussen markets, McConnell has a 60 percent chance of keeping his job.

Lunsford is celebrating the new poll results by offering to match, dollar for dollar, all contributions to his campaign before June 30.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Saw That Coming

Given the timing of the shooting rampage at the Henderson, Kentucky factory and the Supreme Court's decision in Heller, some second amendment opponents, as predicted, are using the Henderson tragedy to criticize the Court.

Enter the New York Times:

On Wednesday, as the court was getting ready to release its decision, a worker in a Kentucky plastics plant shot his supervisor, four co-workers and himself to death.

The Times editorial then goes on to say that the D.C. gun ban was the best thing since sliced bread, even though violent crime rates actually went up under the 30 years it was in place. That's what happens when the criminals own guns and law-abiding citizens do not.

No doubt the Times is miffed that Barack Obama flipped on his previous opposition to the D.C. gun ban without first notifying the editorial boards, so they could stay on message.

Fallout on Lunsford's Oil & Gas Hedge Funds

Contrary to wishful thinking among the Demo-blogs, one does not "have to be someone of McConnell’s stature just to find out" "what [Bruce Lunsford's Goldman Sach's] funds buy into because those interests aren’t disclosed to the investor."

Lunsford himself disclosed the holdings of Goldman Sachs Capital Partners V on pages 3 and 4 of his April 17, 2008 financial disclosure form.

If the fund assets were a big secret, it seems that someone of Lunsford's "stature" could (and did) get the information -- in time to release it on his financial disclosure form to the U.S. Senate.

Once Lunsford disclosed the fund investments, it takes just a few Google searches to see that these hedge funds invest in all aspects of the oil and gas industry, from exploration to transportation to the pump.

It's the same hypocrisy we saw in the primary. Greg Fisher criticized Lunsford's role in the Vencor debacle, and Lunsford responded, in essence, how can you complain about a company when you have invested in its spin-offs?

The point is not that Lunsford is beholden to the oil and gas industry by making the investments. The point is that he blames the price of gas on hedge fund speculators, even though that's exactly what he is. New Lunsford slogan: Do as I say, not as I do.

Guthrie Responds to Heller

Republican candidate for the Second Congressional District Brett Guthrie responded to the Supreme Court's decision in Heller:

"I am ecstatic about the Supreme Court’s ruling today affirming the right of an individual to keep and bear arms. Today’s ruling shows the importance of having judges on the bench who interpret the Constitution as written instead of legislating from the bench. As a Member of Congress, I will always vote to uphold the Second Amendment and the rights of gun owners and sportsmen and women everywhere.”

Well said, Mr. Guthrie.

Flip-flopping Away

Barack Obama was for the D.C. gun ban before he was against it. Now that the Supreme Court has said the obvious -- that the ban was unconstitutional -- and now that Obama is running for president, he is all of the sudden in favor of the right to bear arms.

Though he markets himself as a deity rather than a politician, his amition is such that he will say anything, reverse any position to get elected. Obama uses his oratorical skills to parse words in a way that looks more and more Clintonian.

Last year, Obama took the position that D.C. gun ban was constitutional:

In a story entitled, "Court to Hear Gun Case," the Chicago Tribune's James Oliphant and Michael J. Higgins wrote ". . . the campaign of Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said that he '...believes that we can recognize and respect the rights of law-abiding gun owners and the right of local communities to enact common sense laws to combat violence and save lives. Obama believes the D.C. handgun law is constitutional.'" (Emphasis added.)

Now, the Obama camp backpedals:

"That statement was obviously an inartful attempt to explain the Senator's consistent position," Obama spokesman Bill Burton tells ABC News.

"Inartful"? That is the one adjective that can never be applied with a straight face to Obama.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

More Constitutional "Changes"

The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down the D.C. gun ban, holding that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms (District of Columbia v. Heller). The Court's opinion is here.

The vote was 5-4, and of course, Justice Kennedy was the deciding vote for the majority, just like he was yesterday in the case striking down capital punishment for child rape (Kennedy v. Louisiana). In Kennedy, Justice Kennedy (no relation) joined with Justices Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg and Breyer to produce a ruling that Senators John McCain and Barack Obama both roundly condemned. In Heller, Justice Kennedy joined with Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito.

We can expect McCain to hail today's decision. It will be fascinating to see what position Obama takes. Given that he's into constitutional "change" (Obama flip-flopped on the constitutionality of capital punishment), perhaps Obama will agree that Americans have Second Amendment individual rights also.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Former Porn Star Runs For U.S. Senate

Just when you thought the race for U.S. Senate was getting dull, Central Casting has sent Sonny Landham to play the part of the libertarian candidate. Landham is attempting to collect enough signatures to run for Mitch McConnell's seat in the U.S. Senate.

Before entering politics, Landham appeared in action films, including Predator (which also featured Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura). Landham is "known for his powerful physique, booming voice and his American Indian heritage," according to Townhall writer Bruce Schreiner.

But the bid includes some campaign baggage that seems scripted for Hollywood, instead of socially conservative Kentucky. Early in his acting career in the 1970s, Landham bared it all in adult films.

Please don't send me any YouTube videos of his former films.

If Landham decides to reprise Greg Fischer's campaign ad against Bruce "Mud Man" Lunsford -- complete with mud wrestling -- he can do his own stunts. Who knows; that could have been Landham in the original ad.

Maybe that's why he's running. Perhaps Landham is looking for the chance to get to know Bruce Lunsford, say at a candidates' debate. That could be Landham's entree into a Lunsford-Hart film. (Look out, Sundance!)

Landham is 67 years old. He resides in Ashland with his fifth wife and three of his four children.

Five Dead in Shooting at Henderson, KY Plastics Plant

Our prayers go out to five families who lost loved ones this morning at a shooting rampage in Henderson, Kentucky. The gunman was an employee of Atlantis Plastics, where he shot four co-workers before committing suicide. Two others were shot but transferred to a local hospital, according to the New York Times.

The shooter had argued with his supervisor earlier in his shift. After leaving the plant to take his break, the shooter returned with a handgun.

Kentucky's concealed gun statute allows employees to keep guns in their cars at work.

The names of the victims and the shooter have not been released. Atlantis is scheduled to hold a press conference at 3:00 p.m. today.

The shooting comes just as the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hold that the second amendment right to bear arms applies to individuals, not just militias. That will form the basis for the Court affirming the D.C. Circuit's decision that the D.C. gun ban -- the strictest in the nation -- is unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court should release its opinion in the Heller case sometime this week, possibly as soon as today. Justice Antonin Scalia, who has not written a majority opinion this Term, is expected write it.

Heller, because it arose in the District of Columbia, probably will not address the question of whether the second amendment applies to the states, by being incorporated into the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment.

Those who oppose gun rights, consequently, will argue that Kentucky employers can -- and should -- ban employees from keeping guns in their cars at work. That will be a hard question. We allow employers to force their workers to forgo certain constitutional rights -- such as the right to free speech, when they sign a confidentiality agreement. So perhaps the employer similarly can condition employment on not exercising the second amendment right to bear arms.

In addition to the human loss, the Henderson shooting reaffirms stereotypes about Kentucky and rural America generally. Barack Obama undoubtedly feels vindicated that at least one bitter person did cling to his gun this week.

Just as bad facts should not make bad law, the Henderson shooting should not be extrapolated to reflect all Kentuckians. The Henderson shooting is an aberration. That's why it is such big news. The District of Columbia, on the other hand, has started to resemble Baghdad, complete with check points. Thirty years of the most stringent gun control law in the country made the District more dangerous, by disarming the citizenry. It is no model for Kentucky.

Update: The death toll is now six.

Update: The U. S. Supreme Court has issued three opinions, but Heller was not among them. If the Court had planned to hand down Heller today, I'm glad they didn't.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Obama Kills Possum

Barack Obama has jettisoned his latest exercise in vanity, the fake presidential seal that briefly adorned his podium.

It seems that Barry's handlers pointed out that it might appear presumptuous to use a pseudo presidential seal unless and until he becomes a pseudo president. So under the bus it goes. (Move over, white grandma.)

There has been much talk on the blogosphere about the seal's Latin logo; the Obama campaign replaced "E pluribus unum" (out of many, one) with "Vero possumus” (Yes, we can!). Leaving aside debates about the propriety of his Latin grammar, the choice of the verb "possum" was unfortunate because its English cognate suggests an animal known for its sleeping in the middle of roads, with a destiny that includes becoming road kill or Burgoo.

What few realize is that the "Yes, we can!" logo is a knock-off from the popular PBS cartoon, "Bob the Builder."

Take your places / Can we fix it/ Yes, we can/ Bob the Builder/ Can we fix it/Bob the Builder/ Yes, we can.

Some of the lyrics resemble Obama's rallies. Just substitute swooning young women for toddlers:

Left a bit, right a little, O.K. straight down /We can tackle any situation/ Look out, here we come/ Can we dig it? Yes/ Can we build it? Yes/ Can we fix it? Yes!

It's a song that little boys sing as they play with their Tonka trucks. Any two year old will assure you that Bob the Builder is real and can fix anything. Obama supporters likewise assert that their man is for real and can fix anything.

Given that the Obama campaign has yet to "adapt" "Hail to the Chief", they should just remain true to the Veros Posssumus logo and force the adoring crowds to sing the theme to "Bob the Builder" for the Great One's processional.

There remains the question of suitable transportation. Bob the Builder looks great in a dump truck, but I don't see Obama riding in one (except with a hard hat, covered with sweat, in the dreams of Obama Girl.) Obama probably won't bother trying to do a knock-off on the Presidential limo. Look for Obama to be styling in a hybrid Pope-mobile.

Scaring Up Support For McCain In Kentucky

The most popular spin from Senator Barack Obama's media sympathizers as to why Kentuckians aren't fawning over him is that they are "racists." But now there is a new line to explain his dismal showing. According to Steve Johnson of Associated Content, Obama trails Senator John McCain in polling in the Bluegrass State because "[c]learly, the GOP tactic of scaring the vote out of people is still viable." We're shaking in our boots -- with laughter.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Proud To Be A Ypsituckian

For those Kentuckians who were called "racists" for voting against Senator Barack Obama, there is another slur to add to the shoulder. Certain Michigan residents have coined the label "Ypsitucky" to refer to transplanted Kentuckians. According to epicurious.com:

[C]alling someone Ypsitucky is essentially the same as calling them poor white trash, as it's a long-standing local term that pokes fun at Appalachian immigrants (it combines "Kentucky" with once-blue-collar "Ypsilanti, Mich.").

"If you want to talk about a dinner about people who moved up here from the South and what kind of food they eat, (the term) is fine," Ypsilanti Mayor Paul Schreiber told the Ann Arbor News. "But the just plain term 'Ypsitucky' is a pejorative term."

"It was a poke at the people from Kentucky that moved up here," Ypsilanti City Councilwoman Lois Richardson said. "It's really a derogatory term. It's not one that I would use."

I had never heard of Ypsitucky before, but I'm glad the speech police have alerted me so I can be deeply offended. I still think "Kentuckiana" is the worst bastardization of geographic names.

Harry Reid Left Speechless

Speaking of Democratic bubbles bursting, it's amazing what a little debate will do to shut up a bad idea. As Rich Lowrey of the New York Post writes today,

RARELY has so much hectoring produced so little.

After all the magazine covers, celebrity sermonizing and UN-certified-expert hand-wringing, the fight against global warming got a real-world test in the US Senate a few weeks ago in the debate over a proposal to limit carbon emissions through a cap-and-trade system.

After a small dose of the argument, the proposal's backers couldn't wait to drop it. It was leading opponent Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate minority leader, who declared he'd be happy to talk about cap-and-trade for a month.


As an indirect tax on carbon, cap-and-trade would increase energy prices when people are straining under $4-a-gallon gas. Even a political naif - which McConnell assuredly isn't - would realize the benefit of hanging the proposal around its supporters' necks. Lately, we've seen the tech and housing bubbles burst, and now - at least as an urgent political issue - the global-warming bubble is getting pricked.
. . . .
No matter what the price of gas is, the most sensible US policy is to avoid costly schemes to fight global warming. If our economy keeps growing, we'll be better positioned - richer and more technologically proficient - to help others mitigate its effects decades from now.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid huffs that global warming is "the most critical issue of our time." Really? More critical than energy prices? Than health care? Than wages? Than terrorism? Than nuclear proliferation?

Keep huffing, Sen. Reid - that deflating bubble needs all the air it can get.

Wedding Update

Lt. Governor Daniel Mongiardo tied the knot with Allison Patrick in Covington over the weekend. Meanwhile, Johnny Depp's representative has denied the rumor that Depp wed "long-term girlfriend Vanessa Paradis . . . .in a secret ceremony earlier this month." According to the British site, Now Magazine Online, Depp "was rumoured to have exchanged vows with the French singer in his home town of Kentucky on 14 June."

McCain Continues To Lead Obama In The Bluegrass

A new SurveyUSA poll of Kentucky voters shows Senator John McCain leading Senator Barack O'Bama 53% to 41%. The poll, taken June 13-16, has a margin of error of 4%.

No leap at all....

In responding to the criticism that he was an elitist, Barack Obama recently said that it was "a leap" to run for President as a black man named Barack Hussein Obama.

I have news for Barack: it is no leap at all to run as such a man. If a black man named Barack Hussein Obama was for lowering taxes, promoting a strong pro-life position, supporting second amendment rights and appointing original intent judges, many of us would be going door to door to campaign for him.

The problem is not that Barack is black, or that he has an Arabic name. The problem is that he is a socialist with ideas and concepts far outside mainstream America. Barack will play the victim/racism card because he cannot really defend his wacky political philosophy.

MANY CONSERVATIVES WOULD LOVE TO SEE A BLACK MAN BE PRESIDENT! Unfortunately, Barack is not that man.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Bursting Bruce's Bubble

Bruce Lunsford has pumped gas at stations around the state as part of his effort to understand how high gas prices affect Kentuckians. And though Lunsford claims he wants to "protect[] consumers" from "Wall Street speculators who are driving up oil prices," Lunsford himself is one of those Wall Street speculators who profit as the price of gas soars.

Lunsford's most recent financial disclosure form, dated April 17, 2008, makes clear that at least as of that date, he owned substantial assets in hedge funds that invest in oil and gas.

Take, for example, Lunsford's interest in Goldman Sachs Capital Partners V, LP, an $8.5 billion private equity fund for "high net worth individuals." Lunsford valued his assets in that non-publicly traded fund as between $1,000,001 and $5,000,000.

Lunsford's financial disclosure forms list GS Capital Partner V's investment as including: CVR Energy, Inc.; Knight, Inc.; McJunkin Red Man Corporation; SunGuard Data Systems, Inc.; and Cobalt International Energy.

CVR Energy, as the name implies, is in the oil business. It "operates a 113,500 barrels-per-day-throughput-capacity oil refinery in Coffeyville, Kansas, and a crude oil gathering system in Kansas and Oklahoma." Given that CVR is a petroleum refiner and transporter, its investors -- which indirectly include Lunsford -- cannot be too dismayed about the price of gas.

Likewise for McJunkin Red Man Corporation. "Exclusively geared toward the distribution of industrial and oilfield PVF products, McJunkin Red Man Corporation has a significant presence in the oil and gas industry," according to the company's promotional materials.

Knight, Inc. owns the general partner of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners (NYSE: KMP), "one of the largest publicly traded pipeline limited partnerships in America with an enterprise value of approximately $20 billion." KMP "is the largest independent transporter of refined petroleum products in the United States."

Perhaps the very gas that Lunsford pumps in his photo-ops was transported by Knight, Inc. It's the ultimate in multi-tasking: Lunsford grows richer as he panders to the voters.

Lunsford's Goldman Sachs fund also owns an interest in SunGard Data Systems, Inc. , which acquired FAME Energy. SunGard FAME provides "data services to support energy traders, research analysts and risk managers of energy companies and financial institutions." Sounds like it helps the very energy speculators whom Lunsford blames for raising gas prices.

And then there is Cobalt International Energy, LP. The Carlyle Group describes Cobalt :

Cobalt International Energy, L.P. is an oil and gas exploration and development company focused on pursuing niche opportunities in the Deepwater Gulf of Mexico and offshore international areas.

That is, Cobalt correctly wants to drill some of that oil that the Cubans and Chinese are extracting just miles from our shore. Lunsford might have been thinking of this investment when he named his racehorse "Drilling For Oil."

Lunsford recently said he opposes oil drilling off American shores. Yet he would profit from a company that exists to do just that. He therefore has a financial interest in flip-flopping on the issue. But even if he doesn't, when an investor is as rich as Lunsford, it's good to have some losses to offset all those capital gains.

With respect to Lunsford's interests in Lone Pine Capital, his financial "disclosure" form states, Lone Pine's "Individual investments not disclosed." The form therefore gives less guidance about the extent to which the fund speculates in energy commodities, but it is clear that Lunsford has picked another good investment.

Lone Pine's hedge fund manager (and Obama supporter) Stephen Mandel "took home $710 million last year,"according to the New York Times. Lone Pine looks to expand its profits by expanding its energy holdings. That's undoubtedly good news to Lunsford, who will use his vast wealth to finance his campaign.

As he pumps gas and pretends to empathize with the little people, Lunsford criticizes an energy bubble from which he profits. An owner of extensive hedge fund assets, he blames gas prices on hedge funds. It's pointless for Lunsford to wash his hands after he pumps gas for the cameras. Lunsford gets gas all over his hands every time he goes to the ATM.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Change You Can Sink Your Teeth Into

So that's why Saint Barack took a pass on public campaign financing: Moveon.org is hosting a national bake sale for him.

The bake sales will take place today and tomorrow. There are three "Hungry For Change" bake sales in Louisville: Carmichael's bookstore; Bashford Manor Bed & Breakfast; and Chickasaw Park. These are three of 700 such sales that Moveon.org says will "raise money to help elect Barack Obama president."

Moveon.org's website includes a list of instructions on how to hold a bake sale. (Who says they think the little people are stupid.). On the chance that Michael Moore might show up, bake sale fundraisers must promise that anyone who buys more than $50 in cookies must fill out a special form.

The rules do not require that the baked goods be Vegan, which raises the spectre of PETA protesting the use of dairy products.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Barack Obama and Monica Lewinsky Change Democrats' Minds

Call Senator Barack Obama the new Monica Lewinsky. How so? Both Obama and Lewinsky have demonstrated the ability to change Democrats' minds on what once were rock-solid beliefs that conflicted with the U.S. Constitution.

As those alive back then will recall, the Democrats in the 1970s and 1980s were gung-ho as to the supposed need for an office of independent counsel to investigate wrongdoing in the White House. President Richard Nixon's fiasco in Watergate convinced the political opposition that no President could be trusted to appoint a special prosecutor in the Department of Justice when an Executive Branch official was charged with illegal activity. Those lonely voices who argued that an unaccountable prosecutor outside the Attorney General's control violated the constitutional separation of powers were ignored by the Democrats, who were convinced that the need for "independent" investigations trumped whatever the Constitution might have to say about the matter.

Then, of course, entered Monica Lewinsky, who convinced the cigar-chomping Democratic lawmakers that maybe having a prosecutor free to do whatever he wanted to dig up dirt on the President and others in the White House might not be such a good thing after all. The Democrats next started sounding just like their "favorite" Justice, Antonin Scalia, who years before had argued in a famous dissent that the independent counsel statute was fatally flawed and in violation of the separation of powers.

Another pet issue for the Democrats back in the 1970s, and continuing through the 1990s, was the need for public financing of political campaigns. Supposedly public money would clean up everything that was wrong in politics because big-bad private money would no longer be used as much by candidates. Yesterday, however, Senator Barack Obama pulled a Monica Lewinsky on public financing. As The New York Times reports, in the wake of Obama's decision "to become the first presidential candidate to forgo public money, the system is facing the most critical threat to its survival." The NYT concludes: "Mr. Obama’s decision to opt out of public financing — along with the ability of the Internet to let candidates raise large sums of money from small donors — may do more to shatter the system than all of the loopholes it has spawned."

Public financing of campaigns is as constitutionally dubious as the independent counsel statute was. Whereas the independent counsel violated the Constitution by undermining Executive power under Article II, public financing similarly runs afoul of constitutional guarantees by forcing taxpayers to subsidize candidates' political speech in contravention of those taxpayers' First Amendment rights. Apparently the Democrats finally see it that way too. Maybe this is the "change" in the Constitution that Obama's legal scholar, Eddie Veder of Pearl Jam, had in mind.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Name That Building!

Congressman John Yarmuth has fit in nicely with a Congress that spends more time naming federal buildings and honorary months than it does actually solving the nation's problems.

House Minority Leader Roy Blunt notes that the Democratically-"led" House is too busy to do anything substantive, like reduce gas prices. This Congress has important bills to pass:

Of the 244 laws that the Democrat Congress has enacted (thru June 6, 2008):

- 92 (38%) were to name government buildings or lands;

- 39 (16%) were to extend existing laws or make technical corrections to existing laws;

- of the remaining bills enacted into law, 87 (35%) were so uncontroversial that they passed either without a recorded vote in the House or with fewer than 10 votes in opposition.

As for Louisville's Congressman John Yarmuth, he is right there naming buildings and sponsoring other useless legislation, like renaming the Hike's Point Post Office.

Now, it's all well and good to honor our "Iraq and Afghanistan Fallen Military Heroes of Louisville" but instead of bestowing a "memorial post office," how about just letting our military accomplish their task? How about acknowledging their success -- the success of the surge? How about denouncing Moveon.org when it takes out a full-page ad in the New York Times to call General David Petraeus "General Betrayus"? Not Yarmuth: he had a chance to condemn Moveon.org's attack on Petraeus, and he refused.

Yarmuth epitomizes a Congress that has named, by RedState's count, "51 months...27 more than are actually on the calendar for a two year Congress." The intentions are all warm and fuzzy but we really need to put the grown-ups back in charge, and Yarmuth lacks the gravitas to do more than message for Mama Pelosi.

McCain's New Energy Ad Makes Sense

The Courier Journal's James Bruggers today pooh poohs Senator John McCain's new advertisement:

John McCain, the Republican candidate for president, put out a new ad on the environment, noting his past differences with George Bush on climate change. Not mentioned is his new course on off-shore drilling -- McCain now supports it:

"We have enormous energy reserves of our own," he said, "and we are gaining the means to use these resources in cleaner, more responsible way," he's quoted as saying in this McClatchy News Service story. The story also goes on to note that "estimated recoverable reserves off U.S. coasts in areas now banned from production probably hold only about 19 billion barrels, and:

The world consumes about 86 million barrels a day. The U.S. share of that is about 20.6 million barrels, 60 percent of them from foreign sources. One thousand million barrels equals 1 billion, so if there are 19 billion barrels in the areas McCain would open to drilling, that's enough to provide about 920 days, or about 2.5 years, of current U.S. consumption.

Since when has banning offshore drilling been a positive for "global warming"? Bruggers' implicit logic mimics Senator Barack Obama's reasoning that gasoline shortages -- and resultant higher prices at the pump -- are a good thing because they deter economic activity that "harms" the environment. It harms American taxpayers' pocketbooks far more.

And since when has tapping into a new source of domestic energy supply that will meet U.S. consumption for 2 1/2 years been such a bad thing? It would likely be a longer time than that, but even if it were not, that would still be a significant period not to be at the mercy of the OPEC cartel and the likes of autocrats like Hugo Chavez -- and a great opportunity to develop alternative domestic energy sources like nuclear and coal power and to implement responsible conservation measures.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

No Ryder Cup For Tiger

Drudge is reporting that Tiger Woods will take off the rest of the season to have surgery, for the third time, on his left knee. Woods had qualified to represent America in the Ryder Cup this September at Valhalla in Louisville. Instead, he'll be recovering from surgery. We will miss him at Valhalla and wish him a speedy recovery -- and good luck to those Kentuckians trying to take his spot on the Ryder Cup team.

Update on Northup Fundraiser

Anne Northup hit the energy issue hard today at her fundraiser luncheon, which featured former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, Michael Steele, the first African-American elected to statewide office there.

Northup (like a majority of Americans) supports extracting oil located within the U.S., including Alaska and off-shore. John Yarmuth prefers that we remain at the mercy of those Arab countries that view us as the Great Satan, while we develop alternative fuels. And he'd like to bring back those wind-fall profit taxes on the oil companies in homage to Jimmy Carter. Energy will be the defining issue of the election, and Yarmuth is on the wrong side of it.

The guest-speaker at the luncheon was Michael Steele, who made his national debut at the 2004 Republican National Convention -- the same year that we first heard Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention.

It's impossible to watch Steele without comparing him to Obama. Steele is just a few years older than Obama, and like Obama is tall, articulate and speaks with a wonderful baritone voice. But whereas Obama is prone to gaffs when he goes off teleprompter, Steele speaks extemporaneously without flaw. The most significant difference between the two -- other than their politics -- is that Steele doesn't take himself so deadly seriously as Obama. He projects humor and humility in contrast to Obama's self-righteous sense of superiority.

Steele lost his bid for U.S. Senate two years ago, the same year that Northup lost her race for a 6th term in Congress. Both were candid about their individual losses, incurred at a time when the political climate had shifted for reasons outside of their control.

Steele attributed the Republican "shellacking" to a "trifecta" that included an "unpopular war, an unpopular president and an unpopular party" that had forgotten to adhere to conservative principles.

Even after the losses of 2006, Steele maintained, candidates with vision, leadership and advocacy -- like Northup -- need to continue to fight; he commended Northup for running for her seat aggressively, rather than whining or pitying herself.

Losing an election does not define who we are, Steele observed. He joked that having grown up as a "Black man, a conservative Roman Catholic and a Republican in the District of Columbia," he knew about losing. The more important issue is how to react to the loss, he said. Steele and Northup have both passed that test admirably through tenacious perserverence and adherence to principle that would well serve other Republicans to emulate in another difficult election year.

WaPo Editorial Slams Dems on Failed Energy Bill

The Washington Post takes the position that it was "just as well" that the Democrats' energy bill died in the Senate last week.

As Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell noted at the time, the Democrats' bill would have raised the cost of energy -- by a huge margin -- on top of the price increases that already burden consumers.

The Post notes, moreover, that the bill was mostly "just election-year symbolism."

Several provisions, such as a Justice Department investigation of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, a windfall profits tax and an end to certain oil industry tax breaks, might have stuck it to alleged culprits, but they would have had little or no impact on prices at the gas pump.

My favorite line of the editorial tracks what McConnell has said verbatim -- "Congress cannot repeal the law of supply and demand. "

Yarmuth's Pseudo Energy Policy

Congressman John Yarmuth is still looking in article 1 for this pesky law of supply and demand that everyone keeps talking about. That's sort of like forcing oil companies to drill in areas that we know don't contain oil -- another component of the Yarmuth energy plan.

Yarmuth attempted to respond to Anne Northup's attacks on his refusal to allow drilling in Alaska and off the Continental Shelf.

Note his salient economic analysis, as quoted in the Courier-Journal:

Yarmuth said the cost of gas has spiked not so much because of supply problems but because the Bush administration's economic policy has led to a sagging dollar and that its war in Iraq has destabilized the Middle East.

To be sure, the dollar's weakness has contributed to increased oil prices,but we have seen currency fluctuations before -- remember when foreigners purchased American landmarks, like Rockefeller Center in the late '80s. And yet gas did not jump to $4 a gallon. The dollar's weakness makes foreign gas more expensive. So let's reduce the amount of foreign gas we purchase by developing American resources.

More troubling is Yarmuth's assertion that gas prices have not increased "so much because of supply problems." It's axiomatic that when demand exceeds supply, prices increase. When suupply increases, prices drop.

Yarmuth surely knows this, which is why he then contradicts his argument by citing a supposed impediment to supply: the "war in Iraq has destabilized the Middle East."

To reach that conclusion, Yarmuth is forced to ignore the success of the surge. Stability in Iraq has begun to lure back foreign investment, even from those countries who couldn't be bothered fighting with the U.S. forces. Yarmuth's argument might have been plausible a year and a half ago, before the surge began. But at that point in time oil prices were not $4 a gallon.

In addition to ignoring the success of the surge, Yarmuth does not understand the dangers in the Middle East. The president of Iran's threats to wipe Israel off the map cannot be blamed on the Bush administration; it's just plain old anti-Semitism (the sort we see on Barack Obama's web site and the DailyKos.). Likewise for Hamas.

The Middle East will always be a volatile region. There will always be countries there that hate Israel and the U.S.. That's why it's in our national security interest to develop domestic sources of energy, specifically in Alaska and off our shores.

Yarmuth talks about revoking tax breaks for oil companies and using the money to develop alternative energy sources. Apparently he wants to put our government in the energy business rather than allowing those companies with the expertise to use American ingenuity to develop new products. It's all well and good to develop renewable energy, but the form it will take and the timing for its arrival are entirely speculative. And Americans need relief from gas prices now.

Northup understands that if we commit to drilling in Alaska and off our shores today, gas prices will immediately fall because the current price reflects the futures market for oil. If the markets includes the vast reserves in ANWR and on the Continental Shelf, gas prices immediately will drop --estimates range from fifty cents to a dollar a gallon.

Democrats pretend that they oppose drilling in Alaska because they want to save the polar bears. The only hides they want to protect are their own. They know that if gas prices drop, so do their prospects for victory.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Northup Rightly Goes On The Offensive Regarding New Oil Drilling

Anne Northup wrote an excellent op-ed piece in today's Courier-Journal highlighting what should be one of her strongest issues against Congressman John Yarmuth: the need for Congress to allow for more domestic oil drilling to reduce the price of gasoline.

Northup attacks Yarmuth for his opposition to drilling where there are proven reserves while he supports proposed legislation to tax oil companies into drilling in areas that are likely to be dry holes:

Just last week, our representative [Yarmuth] joined 10 Democrats who filed a "use it or lose it" bill which would force oil companies to use the federal leases they currently have or forfeit them. The truth is, oil companies have had very little success with these leased lands, with 52 percent of the leases turning up no oil. Many more were leased for the purpose of recovering natural gas only. Other areas are prohibitive in terms of the cost to drill and questionable in the amount of recoverable oil. It is hard to fathom the thinking of a person who would propose forcing companies to drill all over the continent in places with marginal or no reserves, but refuses to allow drilling where there are plentiful reserves.

Northup criticizes Yarmuth and fellow Democrats for cow-towing to the environmental lobby's opposition to drilling in ANWR and offshore at the expense of all of us at the gasoline pump:

We do not have to look overseas for our oil. Alaska's ANWR alone contains 10.4 billion barrels of oil. Likewise, the Outer Continental Shelf is estimated to contain 19 billion barrels of oil. There are other estimates that put our oil reserves in the hundreds of billions of barrels. When given the opportunity to tap these abundant resources, the House Democrats overwhelmingly opposed it while House Republicans overwhelmingly supported the increased production. Even when the Republicans were in the majority and passed it in the House, the Senate could not muster the 60 votes necessary to pass the bill and send it to the President because of Democratic opposition.

Recently, such large reserves of shale oil were discovered that some now refer the United States as the "Saudi Arabia of shale oil." Yet last year this Congress banned all new shale oil extraction. That's right: No matter where or how safely it could be extracted, this new reserve is now off limits nationwide.

We know where the major reserves of clean, light and easy-to-refine crude oil are located. Even though a majority of people in this country believe we can harvest our oil in an environmentally safe manner, this Congress seems to be too frightened of an environmental lobby that has become increasingly irrational.

Northup and other Republicans should continue to hit hard on this issue. To rephrase Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign theme, in 2008, the Republicans' motto should be "it's the price of gasoline, stupid!"

Classic Rock

The Associated Press and The Wall Street Journal have articles today that provide an informative contrast between the blather of Senator Barack Obama's supporters and the specific, frightening views of the candidate himself as to the kind of "change" he wants to effect.

The setting for the AP report, included in The Courier-Journal's Features section, is this year's just concluded Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, held in Manchester, Tennessee. According to AP, "the outside world and its problems -- politics, economic woes, and high gas prices -- were always lurking just offstage, and sometimes were front and center." And apparently the universal answer offered by the motley crew of performers to solve all of these problems was for the crowd to vote for Obama. But exactly what Obama would do once elected was left to the audience's imagination. Emblematic was "[c]omedian Zach Galifianakis," who "concluded his otherwise absurdist performance by simply holding up a sign that said, 'Obama '08.'"

Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam displayed more deftness on guitar than constitutional law with this penumbral riff: "It is welded into the Constitution that people have not only the right, but the responsibility to make change." Is Eddie on Obama's short list for the Supreme Court?

Lest we confuse the mindless message of Obama's supporters with the candidate's real thinking, Obama sat down for an interview with The Wall Street Journal to give specifics as to his economic policies, which are truly scary. According to the WSJ, Obama said "he would rely on a heavy dose of government spending to spur growth" and "use the tax code to narrow the widening gap between the winners and loser in the U.S. economy," which translated means, the people who already pay the taxes are going to have to pay more for the increased government spending. It is, of course, "what appears like a return to an older-style big-government Democratic platform skeptical of market forces."

Call it "change" back to the tax, spend and regulate approach of past Democratic administrations. Not quite as old as the Constitution, but retro nonetheless.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Congress Spoils More Taxpayer Money On Sports Investigations

Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth gave us the best soundbite for Congressional waste earlier this year when he participated in a House hearing "investigating" steroids in Major League Baseball. Yarmuth's silly questioning of Major League Baseball Players Association president Don Fehr regarding whether steroids increase player performance "any more than chewing tobacco does, any more than chewing on sunflower seeds does" would make great fodder for an Anne Northup political ad, with "Take Me Out to the Ball Game!" playing in the background.

But now sports silliness seems also to have infected the other side of the aisle as well, and Republican Congressman Ed Whitfield apparently approves. The House Energy and Commerce Committee's commerce, trade and consumer protection subcommittee has called a hearing for this Thursday to discuss "Breeding, Drugs, and Breakdowns: The State of Thoroughbred Horseracing and the Welfare of the Thoroughbred Racehorse." According to the Courier-Journal's Jim Carroll, "[t]he subcommittee's chairman, Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., and ranking Republican, Rep. Ed Whitfield of Kentucky's 1st District, sent letters to the five horse-racing associations last month, noting the public outcry over the deaths of Eight Belles after this year's Derby and the breakdown and death of Barbaro two years ago."

Fortunately there are still some Republicans who retain a proper perspective of the appropriate role of Congress vis-a-vis the States in the regulation of sports. The C-J reports that earlier today Kentucky state Senator Damon Thayer called the upcoming hearing "'objectionable' and said medication regulation should be left to individual states rather than the federal government." According to the C-J:

Thayer called the hearing scheduled for Thursday a “dog-and-pony show,” and said Congress can’t pass measures to help the economy, but “yet here they come rushing to the rescue” of racing. He also said the hearing is “a bit of showboating.”

Rep. Whitfield, a Hopkinsville Republican, has suggested that the federal government may need to implement minimum medication policies for racing under the Interstate Horse Racing Act, the federal law that allows the simulcasting betting that is vital to the industry.

Thayer said the federal act should be left alone and that states are in the best position to regulate the industry. If a bill advances through Congress, Thayer said Kentucky’s U.S. senators, Mitch McConnell and Jim Bunning, “who have a very good understanding of our industry and how important it is to the economy of this country, can stop it.”

Thayer made his remarks while sitting next to Connie Whitfield, the wife of Congressman Whitfield, at a meeting of the Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council. Good for Senator Thayer.

Here's a suggestion for our Kentucky Congressmen: Stop wasting time and money "investigating" sports and start devoting more attention to legislation to allow for more domestic off-shore oil drilling. If we Americans have to spend all of our money on gasoline, we won't have anything left to pay to attend any of the sporting events your "investigations" are trying to "reform".

Saturday, June 14, 2008

McCain Gets It

John McCain reassured conservatives (and anyone else who doesn't want to be killed by a terrorist) that he rejects the U.S. Supreme Court's decision that enemy combatants can assert the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens. McCain called the 5-4 decision "one of the worst" decisions in our country's history.

McCain noted that the Court's opinion reminds us of the importance of a president selecting judges who interpret the law rather than legislate from the bench. Justice Anthony Kennedy went beyond usurping Congress's right to make legislation; Kennedy amended the Constitution itself by judicial fiat.

I've been reading David McCullough's John Adams recently and was struck by how little respect Kennedy showed for the Framer's conception of government. Adams and most other Framers understood our government to derive its authority from the consent of the governed. How on earth an enemy combatant, captured in another country and imprisoned beyond our borders, can be understood to have consented to our form of government -- so to take advantage of the rights it affords -- makes no sense.

Kennedy, moreover, has played a bait and switch with Congress, by encouraging Congress to pass the very laws that he then turned around and struck down.

Justice Antonin Scalia, in dissent, is doubtless right. The Court's decision makes us more vulnerable to terrorist attack. People will die as a result, and not just Americans.

Perhaps the most macabre aspect of the majority opinion is the perverse incentives it gives our military when fighting jihaadists, to either kill or release enemy combatants. Our military can hardly risk taking an enemy combatant prisoner, because to do so would give the terrorist a tactical advantage in destroying America by demanding his newly-found right to view our national security data. So Kennedy unwittingly has encouraged our military to take no prisoners.

The Supreme Court opinion serves to remind conservative voters that regardless of their lack of enthusiasm for McCain, any justice whom he would nominate would be better than a Barrack Obama nominee. Obama, after all, might try to put Hillary Clinton on the Court just to keep her from running against him in 2012.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

GOP vs. Dem. Response to Gas Prices

The two political parties confront $4 a gallon gas and respond with distinctly different attitudes. The parties can't even agree on whether high gas prices are good or bad.

For Barack Obama, rising gas prices are not such a bad thing -- because they force ignorant consumers to finally become green. He just wishes the increase had been more "gradual."

Republicans, in contrast, watch gas prices skyrocket, realize that this hurts individuals and our economy, and therefore try to formulate policy that will lower prices. Consequently, Republicans persist with the shocking notion that perhaps energy independence begins at home, by extracting the coal and the oil with which our country has been so richly blessed.

Democrats mock the idea that drilling in Alaska or off our coasts can reduce gas prices. They complain that it would take eight years for the oil to reach the gas pump, which coincidentally, is about how long ago Bill Clinton vetoed the necessary legislation. In any event, given that today's oil price reflects the futures market, even an announcement that we will begin drilling in Alaska would lower the price of gas today; estimates range between fifty cents to a dollar a gallon.

Rather than looking for energy in an oil or coal field, Democrats cry for blood from the supposed Robber Barons of the oil industry: sock 'em with windfall profit taxes. We've seen this movie before. Jimmy Carter tried it during our last energy crisis and it didn't work.

On this point, John McCain is correct: Obama is running for the second term of Jimmy Carter's failed administration.

And to get that second term, it's in Democrats' interests that oil prices remain high and voters remain mad. (Ironically, it was just that sort of voter anger that forced Carter out of office.)

Just as Democrats had an interest in the surge not working in Iraq, they have a distinct electoral interest in gas prices increasing up to the election. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell addressed their conflict of interest head on.

"Washington Democrats have repeatedly refused to allow increased energy production here at home — even though, as we all know, increased supply leads to lower prices. It’s as if they are doing everything in their power to keep gas prices from going down,” McConnell said.

Monday, June 9, 2008

London Columnist Predicts McCain Victory

Has Obama peaked? Janet Daley of the Daily Telegraph thinks so. She believes that McCain will win the general election. Daley's analysis deserves close attention, given that she was practically the only pundit who predicted at the beginning of the campaign that Obama and McCain would be the two left standing to face off in November.

Daley writes:

[Obama] has shown himself to be profoundly unable to communicate with the little guys. The blue-collar workers who normally look to the Democrats for succour see him not only as a member of a privileged elite who has little understanding of their problems and who may actually despise their attitudes and assumptions, but as a man who has alarmingly little experience of government and leadership.

Obama's brilliantly effective strategy for winning the nomination involved effectively writing off many of the big states with large working-class populations and, so far, he has offered almost nothing by way of practical remedies to the country's economic problems: his oratory may lift the heart as Franklin Roosevelt's did ("we have nothing to fear but fear itself") but it is singularly lacking in the sort of substantive programmes that gave substance to Roosevelt's inspirational message.

But it is also true that John McCain is not a market leader on economics. He, too, is from a privileged background. Interestingly, however, he seems more able to relate comfortably to ordinary working people than Obama.
. . . .
To European eyes (and to some American ones, too) this is an election to determine how America sees itself: can it elect its first black president? Can it present itself to the world in an entirely new guise - as a member of the modern European club of social democratic societies?

But to most Americans - the ones who are less beguiled by rhetoric and more concerned with financial survival, and those who need practical reassurance more than inspiration - this election will be about proven character and tested judgment.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Steve Beshear's Evil Twin Brother







The other day I was flipping through our TV channels and I get to KET. I noticed that Reading Rainbow was on and I decided to watch, (it was either that or Rachel Ray or the View). It was the classic tale of Rumpelstiltskin, spins straw to gold, wants queen's first born child, etc. The ironic thing was the picture of Rumpelstiltskin resembled our current Governor without the funky hat.
But Steve Beshear can't spin gold; if he could we wouldn't have a budget crisis.

[Hat tip to Christian Bush for guest posting.]

DailyKos Reeks of Anti-Semitism

There is plenty of anti-Semitic garbage on the internet, but when it appears on the most influential of all leftist blogs, the DailyKos, we need to confront it for what it is.

Today the DailyKos posted a piece entitled, "Why Isn't the U.S. Taking Action Against Israel?" in which it equated Israel with Iran. Members of the DailyKos call themselves Kossaks. (Do they realize that the Cossacks killed Russian Jews in pogroms?) Today's Kossak asserts:

our lopsided coddling of Israel gives birth to Arab and Persian resentment of the U.S. and helps spread radical Islam throughout the world. How can the United States tell young Arab and Persian men to resist the sirens’ call of the Extremist Clerics when all they see from the United States is a supposed democracy that enables Israel to engage in the Nazi-like Ghettoization of the Palestinian people and to attack any country it pleases, unprovoked, without consequences? (Emphasis added.)

That is not a misquote: DailyKos actually said that the Israeli's are "Nazi-like."

Today's post was by no means an anomaly. The DailyKos's anti-Semitism is so pronounced and recurrent that one of its Jewish writers previously quit in protest.

Perhaps their ugliest display is the piece "Eulogy before the Inevitability of Self-Destruction: The Decline and Death of Israel." It includes the old "blood libel" -- that Jews sacrifice Gentile children to use their blood for rituals. That rumor was used to justify pogroms in Russia as well as the Holocaust.

The DailyKos included another tale that I had not hear before: that the Israeli Mossad conspired with the CIA to assassinate J.F.K. in order to make U.S. policy more pro-Israel.

Every year, the DailyKos holds a convention. "Progressive" politicians, like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton flock to it in order to shore up their standing among the so-called "netroots." If Obama really wants to bring "hope" and "change," he must start by denouncing the anti-Semitism of the DailyKos

H/t: Little Green Footballs

Is Obama Punishing Kentucky With Cicadas?

Jonah Goldberg weighs in on whether Obama is actually the Messiah, pointing to "concrete evidence": "Since Obama declared his candidacy, there have been remarkably few biblical plagues."

That is little comfort to those of us in Louisville. We are in the midst of a plague that started right after Obama lost the primary in Kentucky. It wasn't enough that our state has been made to look like a racist backwater; when Obama extracts revenge, he doesn't kid around. Enter the cicadas.

Their dead bodies crunch under our feet as we run to the car, trying to avoid contact with the loathsome things. They fly down our chimneys. Our pets eat them and then come try to kiss us. Even through closed windows, the incessant buzzing noise is deafening.

Obama did this to us. And I shudder to think what he will do when Kentucky shuns him again in November. It's time to hide our first-born sons.

Guthrie Campaign Going Like Gangbusters

Republican Congressional candidate Brett Guthrie has raised $600,000 -- three times more than his Democratic opponent, according to Guthrie's campaign. Guthrie is the Republican nominee for Kentucky's 2nd Congressional District.

Guthrie's opponent, David Boswell, said that he spent $200,000 -- all of his campaign's money -- in the Democratic primary.

Guthrie appears to be using the funds raised to recruit a top-flight campaign staff. His TV/radio advertising person, Brad Todd, has produced ads for Mitt Romney, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Michael Steele (who ran for the U.S. Senate in Maryland and is coming to Louisville to campaign for Anne Northup). Guthrie's pollster, Jan van Lohuizen, has conducted polling for Mitch McConnell since 1984 and knows Kentucky well.

Will Ohio's Learned Governor Be Obama's Running Mate?

Senator Barack Obama probably needs to win Ohio to prevail in the Electoral College. With that in mind, Obama may have Ohio Governor Ted Strickland on his short list of potential running mates, if London bookies are right. Strickland was overly educated in the Bluegrass state, having received his bachelor's degree from Asbury College, a master's degree from the University of Kentucky, another master's degree from Asbury Theological Seminary, and to top it all off, a doctorate in psychology from UK. Strickland's Kentucky connections probably won't do Obama much good trying to woo Kentucky voters, given how low Obama's popularity is in the Commonwealth, but Strickland may be just what is needed to tip Ohio Obama's way.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Thank Chuck Schumer For Pricey Gas

For every 20 gallons of gas we buy, New York Senator Chuck Schumer is complicit in raising the price ten dollars, according to George Will.

When President George Bush travelled to Saudi Arabia last month, Schumer imperiously demanded that we halt all arms sales to Saudi Arabia until that country increases oil production by one million barrels a day. Such an increase, Schumer said, would cause the price of gas to drop by fifty cents a gallon almost immediately.

Although it's reassuring that Schumer understands that prices drop when supply increases, his choice of how to increase supply is misguided. Schumer (and many other Democrats) continue to oppose drilling in Alaska and off America's coasts -- even though China and Cuba drill closer to U.S. shores than our government allows our own companies.

That one million barrels daily of increased oil production that Schumer wants from the Saudis could be flowing from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, had Bill Clinton not vetoed production there in 1995. Now Democrats like Schumer have the nerve to complain that even drilling in Alaska won't help matters because of the time lag between sinking the first drill and refining the first gallon of gas.

We are the third largest oil producer in the world, behind the Saudis and the Russians; why aren't we tapping those resources with which we've been so abundantly blessed?

Schumer makes demands of other countries to increase production, and yet he prevents us from buying American under the guise of environmentalism. This, even though foreign countries drill 60 miles from the Florida coast. Schumer's underlying assumption appears to be that the Chinese will be better stewards of our coastlines than will American companies.

Will tells those New Yorkers who elected Schumer that they are getting the gas prices they deserve, as a direct result of his voting record. "Also disqualified from complaining are all voters who sent to Washington senators and representatives who have voted to keep ANWR's oil in the ground and who voted to put 85 percent of America's offshore territory off-limits to drilling," according to Will.

Kentuckians, in contrast, have elected U.S. Senators who understand that we must explore, extract and refine as much of our own energy as possible. That includes converting coal to clean liquid fuels -- an industry that can increase energy independence, and provide jobs and tax revenue for Kentucky. This is an area in which Kentucky can lead not only our country but the world.

Democrats like to talk about conservation, and decreasing demand is certainly part of the equation. Here's the beauty of the marketplace: consumers are smart enough to change their buying habits when prices increase sufficiently. As a result, last month the sales for SUVs plummeted 34 percent -- about the same amount that sales for small, fuel-efficient cars increased. Consumers don't need the incentives of tax breaks or the threat of regulation to do what is in their own self-interest. Schumer forgets that the American consumer is smart enough to make a wise choice without him dictating the result.

Americans are also creative and tenacious enough to solve the technological problems that we confront as we seek to become energy independent. Our country pioneered the auto industry; we can lead the way in clean and efficient energy technology as well. The research and development that is required, however, won't happen if we punish companies for doing well by slapping them with "windfall taxes." It's in the oil companies' interest to invest in R&D; they don't need an edict from Chuck Schumer any more than the American consumer does.

The Chuck Schumer effect: a ten dollar surcharge for every 20 gallons of gas we buy. We could honk or give a one-finger salute when we fill up, but it would be more productive to just sign Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's petition that Congress address all three legs of the stool with an energy policy that encourages not only conservation but exploration and innovation.

Ding, dong the witch is dead...

....the wicked witch is dead. Well, for now anyway. The Dems have done it. They have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. They have jettisoned the candidate who could best face John McCain and chosen the candidate who is least prepared to face him.
The more the American people get to know of and about Barack Obama, the more likely is a McCain victory in November.

As a Republican, it is a joyful day, but I just cannot figure out how Democrats think. Why would anyone chose an unknown, weak and inexperienced candidate over a well known, tough, and relatively experienced candidate? It is an absolute puzzlement to me.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

McConnell Wields Justice for Judicial Nominees

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is not tolerating the Democrats' refusal to confirm judicial nominees who have been waiting for months -- or years.

McConnell used his mastery of Senate procedural rules to catch the Democrats' attention regarding the judicial nominees in limbo. Rather than consenting to routine Senate business -- for which unanimous consent was required -- McConnell forced the Clerk of the Senate read every word of a 491 page global warming bill. This was retribution for Senate Democrat Harry Reid breaking his pledge to confirm three judicial nominees by Memorial Day, as well as the slow pace of confirmation throughout this session.

The Washington Times quotes McConnell:

It is important that judicial emergencies are filled with qualified judges, and we will use the various tools at our disposal to ensure that those nominees and the Republican Conference are treated fairly, and that the Majority takes its commitments seriously.

McConnell is right about "judicial emergencies." The failure to fill vacancies has created backlogs of cases for which justice delayed may well be justice denied.

Litigants are not the only people hurt by the Democrats' failure to confirm nominees for courts with vacancies. Reid has forced the judicial nominees to put their lives on hold while he takes his sweet time determining when -- or whether -- they will ever get an up or down vote on the merits of their confirmation.

In light of the lives that Reid has disrupted, listening to a few hours of global warming legislation is a small but nonetheless just retribution. Indeed, McConnell was merciful in letting the Democrats immerse themselves on one of their favorite topics.