Thursday, October 29, 2009


Why is it important to recruit friends, business associates, etc to make calls to our representatives?

Last night at the excellent American Small Business Partnership meeting a question was rhetorically asked whom had made a phone call to their representative today? I was happy to think to myself, check, did that!

I am trying to do some research on polling our community on health care insurance reform and I found out the C-J is not going to do this poll since it is not an election year and money is tight so they just don’t want to do it!!!! You might think if they had an interesting story then they could print it, improve readership, increase circulation, and sell more advertising but NOPE, that ain’t going to happen.

So I called Congressman Yarmuth’s office to see if they have done some polling, very quickly I was given the answer of NO. I asked again if they knew of some polling. NOPE. (Yeah right!)

Well they were on the phone so I took the opportunity to voice my opinion again to them that I hoped Congressman Yarmuth would reconsider his position on this important legislation and look for other options to solve the problem we all recognize needs some help.

Here is the curious part. I was asked to wait just a minute since the person on the other end of the line wanted to get to the computer. He took my name and he asked, “On Chenoweth Lane?” Yep, they had me recorded on their computer and knew whom I was. (Chenoweth Lane is my business address) So being the skeptic that I am, I realize that their computer will be able to break down the number of calls they take with positive and negative responses. I am sure that they will then review how many people called more than once and negate the multiple calls.

For this reason we need to recruit others to make these phone calls to our representatives.

Don’t quit calling yourself but insure that you get others as well to make these critical calls. Today the House has rolled out their version of the Health Care Insurance Reform and were cheered on by President Obama.

It is happening.

Let me provide the contact so all you have to do is make the call.

Congressman John Yarmuth 502-582-5129

Romano Mazzoli Federal Building
600 Martin Luther King, Jr. Place,
Suite 216Louisville, KY 40202

502-582-5129 FAX 502-582-5897

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Grayson Operative Stalks Rand Paul

Someone from the Grayson campaign has been following Dr. Rand Paul around, videotaping his every move.

The Paul campaign had a little fun with the guy and made a video of him filming them. It's sort of like the zoo animals taking pictures of the tourists taking pictures of the zoo animals. Except instead of the tourist feeding the zoo animal, it was the Paul campaign that invited the Grayson worker to have a bite to eat. (He was too busy filming to say "no thanks.")

The guy filming Paul is not wearing a Grayson campaign shirt or buttons, so it is not obvious that he is aligned with Grayson. However, Chris Hightower from the Paul campaign said that the man parks his car at Grayson's headquarters.

Less clear is why the Grayson campaign thinks it is effective opposition research to film Paul, an opthamologist, serving beans and cornbread to senior citizens at a Lion's Club fundraiser to buy eyeglasses for the indigent. Not exactly a Macaca moment, unless the beans contain botulism.

Update: Joe Arnold has a slightly different You Tube of the same guy videotaping the same Lion's Club event, in which it becomes clear that Paul was flipping pancakes to a very disturbing remake of "Leaving On a Jet Plane."

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

How Stumbo Will Steal From the Schools

House Speaker Greg Stumbo has issued a press release to attempt to defend why the state should be able to seize the contingency funds of local schools, and to explain how he would do it.

Stumbo clarifies what many had expected: rather than take the funds outright, he would off-set a local district's state funding and then tell the school to make up the difference from its contingency fund.

Stumbo boasts that because he will not take school contingency funds and use them elsewhere, this is not "robbing Peter to pay Paul." But make no mistake: he wants to rob Peter nonetheless. In Stumbo's own words:

As Governor Beshear and the General Assembly prepare for the upcoming legislative session, it is becoming increasingly clear that the state’s two-year budget will be the most challenging Kentucky has faced since the Great Depression.

Federal stimulus dollars have helped significantly, but unless Congress provides additional funds, the stimulus dollars will run out by the budget’s second year. Barring an economic miracle, there will be considerable budget gaps and no painless way to fill them.

We must also consider sky-rocketing health insurance and retirement costs, increases in a Medicaid program that already covers a fifth of our population and the growing needs of our schools and universities. Each of these areas must be adequately funded if we hope to move forward as a state.

It was with this in mind that I discussed the possibility of using a portion of surplus funds that are kept by our elementary and secondary schools for unplanned expenses and “rainy days.”

I want to make it clear that I do not believe these funds can be used for any programs or expenses outside of the school’s district. In fact, as Attorney General, I filed litigation to protect education dollars.

The surplus funds are a mixture of local and state dollars prudently set aside by the school districts for future needs and expenses. It would be patently unfair to “rob Peter to pay Paul,” but it may be time for Peter and Paul to help themselves more during these rainiest of days.

I believe all options need to be considered as we begin writing the state’s budget in the next several months. If this is an unprecedented suggestion, it is because we are in unprecedented times.

In our current budget, kindergarten through high school accounts for more than 40 percent of our state tax dollars; when you add postsecondary schools, the figure for education jumps to 58 percent. Critical health and family services and the judicial and justice systems push the total over 90 percent.

Because so much of the state’s budget goes to these areas, they are the ones most affected by cuts that have topped more than $1.5 billion during the last two years. Additional cuts are expected to exceed a billion dollars in the upcoming two-year budget. Federal stimulus dollars have helped us balance our current budget, but these are one-time funds and not a permanent revenue source.

I have no doubt that we will find a way to live within our means, but it will not be easy. My goal is to continue protecting, if not increasing, school funding. Reducing money for education would have negative effects lasting for generations. School surplus funds may or may not be part of that equation, but if they can be a bridge to better days, it is an idea that at least deserves to be discussed.

Schools have looked to their contingency funds every time the state issues an unfunded mandate -- like last year's salary increases -- or cuts funds, as it did this year with text books and professional development. Given the number of schools with dilapidated and over-crowded buildings, however, the contingency funds are an important safety net for emergencies of the sort to which old buildings are prone.

By Stumbo's reasoning, the state should dock his pay to help make up for Kentucky's dire finances. Stumbo can make up the difference from his savings account. That's what savings accounts are for, after all. It wouldn't be robbing Stumbo to pay Frankfort; it would just be robbing Stumbo. To each according to his need, from each according to his ability to pay. And by all means, lets sock it to the poor fools who thought it was responsible to save for a rainy day.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Barack the Golfer

For all you Bush haters who tried to paint him as a lazy playboy, guess what, he has competition. CBS news reports that Barack Obama, the man of the people, has played more golf in his first 9 months of office than George Bush played in his first two years!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Porkulus Watch

Democrats said that if America elected Obama, life would be beautiful. And they were right.

Now we learn that $2.3 million in stimulus money is gong to train hairdressers, nail technicians and masseuses -- and that's just in Tampa Bay, Florida. The joy of living in a pivotal electoral college state. (How did the Ohio beauty salons fare?)

Obama promised that he would cut out governmental fraud and waste by going through the budget "line by line." It was a nuanced promise. That's why he didn't pledge to go through budget hair by hair.

H/t: Hot Air

State Education Leaders Prepare to Fight Stumbo Plan

Kentucky's educational organizations for superintendents, school boards and school administrators have drafted a sample resolution for schools to protest House Speaker Greg Stumbo's plan to seize school contingency funds.

The resolution notes that the contingency funds come from local tax dollars in many districts: "taxpaying voters and property owners who reside in within the boundaries of this school system have contributed their local tax dollars to meet those local education expenses, which in turn have been incorporated both in the district’s budgeted allocations and planned contingency funds."

The point is that Stumbo does not seek to transfer state funds between state agencies, but rather to take local funds to give to the state. It's sort of like one level of government exercising eminent domain on a lower level of government.

The resolution takes a swipe at the Beshear administration for mandating schools to raise salaries -- but not providing any state money to help pay for the raise. That forces schools to use their contingency funds to pay for this and other unfunded mandates. To be sure, teachers should be well paid. But Democrats in Frankfort have dictated the timing and amount of the raises, without contributing any state money, and now Stumbo seeks punish those schools who tried to budget around his ham-fisted use of unfunded mandates.

Accordingly, the resolution criticizes Stumbo's plan to punish schools for having built contingency funds "through careful and effective financial management and effective budgeting, planned for unexpected expenses and the elimination of federal stimulus funds with conservative budgeting of reserve monetary resources."

Finally, the resolution urges citizens to contact their state senators and representatives to protest the Stumbo plan and fight to retain local "community control of this district’s vital financial resources for the teaching and learning of our children."

Stumbo is going to wish he'd thought of a different place to raid for money than local school districts. Even if he can muscle the votes, he will have bought himself a law suit. And he will forever be known as the guy who tried to steal the schools' contingency funds.

Republican Weekly Address: Sen. Johanns

Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE) gave the weekly Republican address. The focus is health care, and the Democrats' new 1,500 page bill.

He makes an interesting point about how Senate Democrat Leader Harry Reid has picked winners and losers among the states.

Nebraska loses "$126 million for home health services, and many of the 38 Nebraska hospices would be in danger of literally shutting their doors."

But Democrats have given deals to senators from some states. As Johanns notes, "Why do Michigan, Rhode Island, Oregon and Nevada get special deals on Medicaid costs? Why do New Yorkers with Cadillac plans get a pass on paying the tax? It is shameful."

Democrats hope that if they negotiate the bill off camera and then make it so long that most won't read it (including most senators) they can claim to have achieved health care reform. "President Obama has promised open deliberations in front of C-SPAN cameras for all Americans to learn how reform will impact them," Johanns reminds us.

So much for the vaunted transparency of the Age of Obama.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Obama the Uniter

President Obama's third war -- against Fox News -- has the unintended consequence of uniting the mainstream media. When the administration tried to exclude Fox from the pool coverage of an unelected and unconfirmed Pay Czar, the other networks refused to go along -- they sided with Fox against the White House.

Who knew that the Old Time Networks had such resolve, such journalistic integrity? All those special interviews live from the White House either failed to persuade or have lost their allure.

As for Fox, every time Obama singles it out for criticism, Fox's ratings go up. It's almost like Obama is a mole for Roger Ailes.

This comes just as the administration has managed to send more than a dozen Democratic Senators screaming to other side of the aisle when Senate Democrat Leader Harry Reid called for his first real vote on health "reform." Reid could only deliver 51 votes out of the 60 who caucus with Democrats.

So in addition to uniting the media, Obama has, as promised, ushered in a new age of bipartisanship.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I'm More Kentucky Than You Is

Secretary of State Trey Grayson and Dr. Rand Paul are drifting further from the issues, into the terrain of silliness. From Paul's press release:

Reminiscent of the schoolyard, Trey Grayson whines that he's more of a Kentuckian than Rand Paul, that Paul is not a Kentuckian.

Rand Paul responds, "I've been a Kentuckian longer than Grayson's been a Republican!"

"I've voted in every Kentucky Republican primary since 1993. When did Grayson start voting in the Republican primary?"

I've raised all of my children here. Kentucky is the only home they've ever known. My wife's family arrived in Kentucky in the 1790's as surveyors. I've spent my entire medical career in Kentucky."

"If that's all
Grayson has to run on, empty shells, this campaign will be easier than we anticipate."

Seriously, boys. It is irrelevant how long Trey Grayson has been a Republican, so long as he adheres the core principles now (he does). Ronald Reagan started out as a Democrat, and few would doubt his conservative bona fides. It is likewise irrelevant how long Dr. Rand Paul has lived in Kentucky, so long as he thoroughly understands the problems of the Commonwealth and desires to enact public policy that would benefit Kentucky. Recall that though he was born in Alabama, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has been relentless in seeking ways to improve the lives of Kentuckians.

McConnell vs. Reid

President Barack Obama paid a bank-handed compliment to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, while simultaneously dissing Senate Democrat Leader Harry Reid.

According to Obama, "Democrats are an opinionated bunch. You know, the other side, they just kinda sometimes do what they're told. Democrats, ya'll thinkin' for yourselves."

Yeah, that's it. We Republicans are mindless sheep. Democrats, in contrast, suffer from such creative intellect that not even Harry Reid can channel their progressive exuberance. Maybe Reid should ask McConnell for some pointers, or at least his Shepherd's hook.

Greg Stumbo Wants to Steal From Our Schools

School superintendents are beginning to push back against House Speaker Greg Stumbo's plan to raid school districts' contingency funds to make up for the state's budget shortfall.

The most outrageous thing about Stumbo's plan is that it punishes those schools that were fiscally responsible, to bail out a state government that was not.

State law requires schools to maintain a contingency fund between 2 to 5 percent of the school's budget. Some districts, on the advice of their outside auditors, maintain a little more than five percent.

Thus, a district with a Category 4 or 5 school -- that is, decrepit -- might put aside extra contingency fund money in case the boiler blows, the roof leaks or it needs to build an addition. Likewise, a school with an experienced staff of teachers should have a contingency sufficient to pay its share of the unused sick leave a teacher gets to cash out upon retirement.

And if geniuses in Frankfort or Washington decide to pass an unfunded mandate, the contingency fund is the school's safety net.

Rather than commending these schools that have scrimped to prepare for such scenarios, Stumbo wants to punish these schools by confiscating their contingency funds. He may be a little more subtle than just taking the contingency funds outright; he may reduce SEEK funds -- the State per pupil allocation to the school -- and tell schools to make up the difference from their contingency funds. But the net affect is the same. That's why schools were asked to provide information about their contingency funds last winter: Stumbo has been planning this for months.

Stumbo's tactics reflect what his party does at the national level: punish responsibility and reward profligacy. Just take from the school's who planned and saved and award a bailout to whomever Stumbo deems deserving.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Way To Go, Brett Guthrie

Congressman Brett Guthrie, though newly-elected, is proving to be a voice for common sense on the Hill. Guthrie has co-sponsored legislation that would withhold funds from the Obama administrations myriad "czars" unless and until they go through Senate confirmation.

Guthrie's press release states:

"I am pleased to co-sponsor legislation to ensure that no public funds are appropriated for the salaries of czars who have not been confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

"Only a few of the over 30 Czars that have been appointed by the president, have actually been confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The Administration relies on these unique appointments to advance the President's agenda and these Czars are given a tremendous amount of power over important policy areas.

"Czars should be put through the same constitutionally-mandated process that all executive appointments must go through. I am a cosponsor of H.R. 3226 and look forward to supporting this bill when it comes before the U.S. House of Representatives."

BACKGROUND: Congressman Guthrie is a co-sponsor of H.R. 3226, which was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on July 15, 2009, by Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA). The bill requires any task force, council, or similar office (including Czars) which is established or appointed by the President, to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

An Equal Opportunity Offender

President Obama has done plenty of things to anger and offend those on the Right, but he seems equally committed to offending and angering those on the Left.

President Obama talks a good game on gay rights, but he has not done anything to further them and it does not look like he as any plans to in the near future. Gay rights activists should be furious with him for the empty promises he made during his campaign.

President Obama has snubbed the Dalai Lama by refusing to meet with him. George Bush happily met with this poster boy for the Left, what's up with that?

While President Obama is no hawk, he has shown some signs of being committed to winning the wars we are currently fighting. Again, many of the peaceniks that elected him have right to be angry for his stance.

When you get the Right AND the Left mad at you, I am not sure that is a good thing. But maybe it is. I am sure our President has it all figured out.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Native Son

In his recently published book, Republican Leader a Political Biography of Senator Mitch McConnell, John David Dyche provides a fine biography of this native son, with an emphasis on the political dimension of his life. In Mitch McConnell's case, the political dimension of his life is overarching. Dyche writes in a very readable style and he provides a very objective look at Senator McConnell's rise to power. He mentions McConnell's successes as well as his failures and he cannot be accused of fawning over his subject.

It can well be argued that Mitch McConnell is the second most powerful politician in this country, behind President Obama. While Senator McConnell is not currently in a position to be proactive on the passing of legislation, he is a key leader in opposing it. The success, security and well being of all Americans, especially the poor and middle class, depend on his efforts and the efforts of his peers to prevent much currently proposed legislation from becoming law.

There are many Kentuckians who probably do not have a true appreciation for McConnell's accomplishments, or have an appreciation for how truly fortunate we are to have this Kentuckian leading the loyal opposition.

Dyche's book provides an excellent insight into the man and his political motivation and evolution. A highly recommended read.