Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bless Barack Obama

A good test of whether or not Obama is doing the right thing is to see if the Left is mad at him. He did the right thing in bombing Libya. And the Left is mad at him.

There are some that are even calling for his Nobel Peace prize to be rescinded. His winning it in the first place was questionable, but to suggest that it should be taken away for bombing Libya is ludicrous. Last time I checked my history books, I noted that some of the most peaceful times in our history resulted from people dropping bombs.

One of the shortcomings of the Left is their inability to distinguish between peace and peacemaking. Unfortunately, in this fallen world, it is sometimes necessary to kill people to achieve peace. Peace can be sought in many ways. Sometimes negotiations and treaties work, and sometimes bombs work. It depends on the situation and the parties involved. In the case of a violent, godless dictator like Quadafi, bombs were the best alternative.

If we look to Scripture, we note that it says "blessed are the peacemakers" (Matthew 5:9), not "blessed are the peaceful". Sometimes peacemakers have to drop bombs. Bless Barack Obama.

Todd P'Pool Opposes Big Government and is Tough on Crime

Republican candidate for Kentucky Attorney General, Todd P'Pool -- who currently serves as Hopkins County Attorney -- has angered some Tea Party types for a recent prosecution of Dusty's Adult World.

Kentucky State Police executed a search warrant on the president of Dusty's two weeks ago and discovered a "display case [that] had salvia or simulated salvia and salvia paraphernalia items in it. Troopers also located a number of items that were of an obscene nature including DVD’s and magazines" according to Surf Mgulehnberg.

The president of Dusty's, Jo Ann Warner, was then charged with:
  • 79 counts of possession of drug paraphenalia;
  • 23 counts of prohibited practices concerning substances that simulate controlled substances; and
  • 16 counts of distribution of obscene matter.
Kentucky is one of 19 states that outlaws salvia. Many of us did not even know that the plant is being smoked as a hallucinogenic until Miley Cyrus was caught taking a bong hit of it on YouTube. Salvia has been associated with causing dangerous increases in the user's heart rate -- particularly coupled with the ADD medicine so many teens now take. Kentucky was therefore wise to criminalize its use.

Likewise, Kentucky criminalizes selling something posing as a controlled substance, in this instance, fake salvia. This is not a consumer protection statute for drug users. Rather, the statute criminalizes facillitation of the intended purchase a controlled substances, whether the actual substance was what was represented or not. So the dealer can be prosecuted whether the supposed pot was Oregano, or whether the drug was one of the designer clones (like K2) that are appearing with alarming regularity.

The obscenity charges apparently stem from simulated kiddie porn.

Todd P'Pool took an oath to uphold the law as County Attorney. If the Kentucky State Police make an arrest that appears valid on its face, he should prosecute. (Note, moreover, that before obtaining the search warrant, the police had to go before a judge to establish probable cause.)

P'Pool has a duty to enforce the law, period. He is not the face of an over-reaching government. To the contrary -- P'Pool is running for attorney general so he can join the multi-state challenge to Obamacare.

To those who think Salvia -- or fake Salvia -- should be legal, that's an argument for the legislature, not the prosecutor. Likewise for kiddie porn. Constitutional conservatives can understand that this is a separation of powers issue in the first instance.

Personally, given Kentucky's drug problem, I am thrilled at the prospect of finally getting an attorney general who has experience as a prosecutor. I reject the notion that drug use should be the choice of an adult; it is the common theme among too many of the sad cases of abuse and neglect that clog the dockets of Kentucky's family courts. The victims here are small children, not just the adults who chose to use.

And in any event, P'Pool faces no primary opponent. He is the Republican nominee. For those who want a conservative who believes in limited government and rule of law, he is the clear choice over Jack Conway, who refused to joint the suit challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Calling All Federalists

The Louisville Lawyers' Chapter of the Federalist Society and the U of L Brandeis School of Law student chapter will host a joint happy hour tomorrow, Wednesday, March 23rd from 5:30 to 7:30 at the Maker's Mark Lounge, 446 South Fourth Street.

If you believe in limited government, individual responsibility, the original intent of the Framers or just Bourbon, come join us.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Coroners Get Flashing Lights

I must be missing something. Gov. Steve Beshear has signed a bill that allows coroners to put flashing lights and sirens on their cars so they can get to accident scenes more quickly. It seems they don't like to wait for traffic on the way to doing their jobs.

This might make sense if the coroners were en route to resuscitate the accident victims. But by definition, coroners examine dead people, and only dead people, for whom time is no longer of the essence.

I don't see why they need to race to the scene -- possibly endangering the rest of us who are still alive.

A justification offered for the bill is that the coroners need to arrive on the scene before the evidence gets disturbed. That seems to assume a certain incompetence on the part of the police. Certainly the victim is in no position to obstruct justice or hide evidence.

The second justification is that the coroners were worried about parking along busy roads at the accident scene. Fair enough, but aren't the police already there, with police lights flashing?

The bill was probably well-intentioned, and yet it smacks of self-importance.

More disturbing is the breadth of issues that our legislators and governor fail to address while they fiddle with trivialities. Where is their sense of priority? Even assuming that coroners need flashing lights, should we not do something about the Commonwealth's fiscal mess first? Where are the flashing lights for that?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tea-phobic Progressives

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is so desperate to win an election that it has staged one: a pick the bumper sticker slogan election.

Apparently this contest is what passes for grass-roots activism among Democrats these days. Or perhaps it's just a way to save money; instead of hiring an ad agency to pick the slogan, the DSCC has farmed out the task.

The "voters" have narrowed the potential bumper sticker down to two slogans:

GOP: It's Not My Cup of Tea

-or -

No Tea For Me, Thanks. I Prefer Progress

Both slogans show that Democrats remain obsessed with the Tea Party. This plays into the Mainstream Media narrative that the Tea Party is a racist horde. It also incorrectly assumes that all Tea Party members are Republicans, when in fact, many are independents who voted for the fiscal conservative candidate in 2010. Most of these candidates were Republicans, but it doesn't necessarily follow that Democrats can't recruit fiscal conservative, libertarian candidates.
In light of two slogans in the run-off, however, it seems that the DSCC has decided to kiss off the Tea Party vote. Big, big mistake.

The second slogan reflects the Democrats clinging to the "progressive" label they have attempted to supplant "liberal." As if voters cannot discern that not much has changed among the Democratic party since Jimmy Carter was president.

Steve Beshear Owes Taxpayers

Gov. Steve Beshear flew around Kentucky yesterday on the taxpayers' dime, essentially to inform us how obstructionist Republicans are regarding Beshear's failure to address Medicaid shortfalls. (Republicans reject Beshear's plan to pay for this year's Medicaid with next year's revenue; don't try that trick at home.)

According to Joe Arnold, the barnstorming tour visits nine cities in two days.

It is no coincidence that Beshear is running for governor. That's why his wild day of flying around the Commonwealth looked like a day of campaigning: it was. Yet taxpayers paid for the travel and security, not Beshear's gubernatorial campaign.

It is completely disingenuous for Beshear to maintain that the air travel was necessary to educate the electorate about the budget. Beshear's insincerity -- and cowardice -- on the matter is underscored by his refusal to debate his Sen. David Williams face to face on KET.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Sen. Murkowski Give GOP Address

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) (who recently survived a recount) gives this week's Republican address. The topic is energy. Here's the video link.

Murkowski puts the lie to the Democratic fable that America is running out of oil and outlines Republican plans for increasing the oil supply at a time when Americans are worried about rising gas prices:

We don’t import oil because our domestic reserves are exhausted. Not even close. Since 1919, people have claimed that America is ‘running out of oil.’ It might surprise you that we’re still the world’s third-largest oil producer, and seem to find more whenever we actually look.

“Republicans know that it’s past time to produce more of America’s oil. My home state of Alaska alone has estimated resources in excess of 65 years’ worth of Persian Gulf imports.

“Republicans would end the de facto moratorium on new development in the Gulf of Mexico and parts of the Rocky Mountain West. Instead of canceling leases and refusing to issue permits, we need to put people back to work.

“It’s also time to shelve the bad ideas. Democrats have repeatedly sought to increase taxes and fees while slowing the permitting process. That won’t solve any problems, but it will mean less production, more imports, and higher prices. To boost production, we need to cut red tape and streamline regulations."

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Rand Paul Blasts Bureaucrat

Sen. Rand Paul ripped into a bureaucrat today over government intrusion into consumer choice under the guise of conservation. The bureaucrat, Kathleen Hogan, is Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency at the Energy Department.

This video should go viral; it's just great. It really illustrates why the Department of Energy should be abolished.

But as for those portions in which Paul complains that his toilet does not work and requires multiple flushes, I'd say our junior senator has crossed into the realm of Too Much Information. It is funny, however, to watch the aid sitting behind him giggle as he discusses his potty problems.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Handicapping the KY Governor's Race

The Daily Caller has surveyed the surveyors regrading gubernatorial races around the country. The news for Kentucky Republicans is not good.

Both the Cook Political Report and Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball assess the Kentucky race as "Leans D."

This is not entirely a surprise to me; even with three Republican candidates, I'm not wild about any of them.

The down-ticket races, in contrast, are much more promising. In the race for Attorney General, I look to Todd P'Pool to finish Jack Conway's political career.

The Eyes Have It

The outrage has not subsided over Kentucky becoming the second state, after Oklahoma, to allow optometrists to perform laser surgery:

More Reaction to McConnell-Paul Coal Bill

Legislation introduced by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Rand Paul to prevent the EPA from illegally stalling coal permits continues to generate news coverage.

The Hill includes a cautionary tale of an example of EPA over-reach in Logan County West Virginia. The EPA rescinded a permit it had previously granted to a company that had spent millions of dollars and several years on the project.

The EPA’s action defies logic," said McConnell, referring to the Logan County incident. "Not only are they changing the rules in the middle of the game, they are retroactively changing rules to shut down mines they’ve already approved."

That's worrisome for Kentucky, where coal provides one of our only competitive edges. And yet the same story plays out around the country with other agencies that the Obama administration misuses to achieve through regulation what it cannot achieve through legislation -- because it lacks the votes. Take efforts to achieve card-check through regulation. Or the use of IRS agents to police Obamacare.

The McConnell - Paul coal legislation is not just about coal, but rather about an administration that seeks to end-run the 2010 election results with antidemocratic regulations by anonymous bureaucrats.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Poor Joe Biden

I actually feel sorry for the guy. When Vice President Joe Biden appeared at the University of Louisville's McConnell Center recently, he looked around the Brown & Williamson room at Cardinal Stadium and, mistaking it as part of the McConnell Center, expressed awe and envy to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. Biden quipped that he couldn't even get his high school gym named after himself.

Biden was speaking the truth. A Delaware school district has voted to not name a new elementary school after Biden.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

McConnell and Paul File Legislation to Prevent EPA Overreach Against Coal Industry

It's great to see these two working together to protect an industry that gives Kentucky its competitive edge. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Rand Paul have filed legislation to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from abusing its power to grant or deny permits for, among other things, coal mines. This is crucial for providing certainty for businesses.

The news release notes that more than 200,000 Kentucky jobs belong to the coal industry, including those of 18,000 miners. The economic significance of the legislation for Kentucky therefore cannot be overstated.

From the release:

The [Mining Jobs Protection Act] legislation would tell the EPA to “use it or lose it” when deciding whether to invoke its veto authority of a 404 permit within a reasonable time frame, giving permit applicants the certainty they need to do business. Mines are required to obtain 404 permits from the EPA to operate.

The bill would ensure that all 404 permits move forward to be either approved or rejected, so applicants aren’t left in limbo unsure how to act. The bill also ensures that the EPA cannot use its veto retroactively.

“The EPA has turned the permitting process, which is already cumbersome, into a back-door means of shutting down coal mines,” Senator McConnell said. “The thousands of Kentuckians who work in coal mining or have jobs that are dependent on it are in jeopardy. Other industries besides coal are at risk, too: I’ve heard from farmers, realtors, the transportation industry and others who also need permits from the EPA to continue their business. Our legislation ensures that what the EPA did in West Virginia will not happen in Kentucky. Attacking an industry so important to Kentucky would put people out of work, impede job growth, and increase energy prices.”

“The out-of-control EPA is already costing the people of Kentucky jobs and their war on coal could cost us even more,” Senator Paul said. “President Obama is on record saying he wants to ‘bankrupt’ the coal industry, that’s why Senator McConnell and I are working to end this abuse by the EPA, and stop the Obama administration from killing jobs in Kentucky and other coal-producing states by trying to regulate away our means to make a living and drive up our electric bills.”

Rand Paul Book Signings

Kentuckians who want Sen. Rand Paul to sign their copy of his new book, The Tea Party Goes to Washington, here you go:

Saturday, 3/5 10:00 a.m.
Barnes & Noble #2753
1680 Campbell Lane
Bowling Green, KY 42104

Saturday, 3/5 4:00 p.m.
Barnes & Noble #2196
4100 Summit Plaza Drive
Louisville, KY 40241

I'm struck by the title of Paul's book; it sounds like a movie title. In fact, it evokes (probably deliberately) Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

Goodness knows Paul's campaign offered plenty of drama. So, who would play Paul? Justin Timberlake has the hair but is way too tall. Jack Conway could play himself. He has the Hollywood looks and will need a job once Todd P'Pool is done with him.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Atlantic Mocks Beshear For Signing Optometrist Bill

The Atlantic magazine has taken note of Gov. Steve Beshear signing a bill that allows Kentucky optometrists to perform surgery. Once again, a Kentucky governor has made us all look like yahoos.

The Atlantic notes that only Oklahoma -- and now Kentucky -- allow non-surgeons to perform eye surgery. The magazine therefore advises,

If you need laser eye surgery in the state of Kentucky, or a little cosmetic work around the eyelids, it now behooves you to ask your prospective surgeon the following question before signing the operative consent form:

"Say doc, did you go to medical school?"

Atlantic reporter Ford Vox also had some pointed questions for Beshear about his rationale in signing the bill -- that it was necessary to provide "access" to eye surgery for rural Kentuckians:

Naturally I wanted to know whether the governor would choose the care of an ophthalmologist or an optometrist should he need an eye surgery now in the optometry's purview. Maybe he'll simply pick the geographically closest provider, like he expects the disadvantaged Appalachian citizens of his state will do? He didn't answer that one.