Monday, March 12, 2007

What Does Kentucky Want?

Gov. Ernie Fletcher is taking his re-election campaign to the airwaves with a television ad that portrays his critics in a hiring scandal as schoolyard bullies and proclaims he never flinched and ultimately won.

The 60-second spot debuting Tuesday says Fletcher stayed focused on his job during the legal turmoil. The commercial boasts of a "booming" economy, a budget surplus, more roads and tax breaks during the governor's term.

Fletcher's commercial opens by showing schoolyard bullies shouting at a book-toting youth who keeps his head up and walks through the group unharmed - an apparent reference to the hiring probe. A narrator says, "Day after day he took it, didn't flinch because fighting is not his way. But he got where he was going. He held his head high. So in his own determined way, he won."

The ad later shows Fletcher at work in his Capitol office and boasts of accomplishments during his tenure. Later, in another reference to the probe, the narrator says, "It's behind us now, and Kentucky's a better place because Ernie came out with his head held high and Kentucky won."

Should Kentucky elect someone who will fight for them? Or should Kentucky re-elect the school yard geek?

Governor’s Fordfare Strategy

Anyone hear Governor Fletcher’s cursing?

Fletcher: “Damn it Marty, Ford is not floundering. If this continues, our Democratic brethren will never pass Fordfare.”

Ryall: “What’s the solution?”

Fletcher: “We’ll have to increase their taxes.”

Ryall: “Taxes in an election year? How Governor?”

Fletcher: “I know, we will have Pence sell them as revenue enhancement.”

Ford shares gain 4% on analyst's upgrade

Credit Suisse this morning lifted its sell recommendation on Ford Motor's shares, rating the stock the equivalent of hold. "We have reviewed our expectations for Ford's first quarter ... We think Ford may post a slightly better than expected result in North America," Credit Suisse analysts wrote in a research note to clients.

Credit Suisse estimates Ford will report a pre-tax loss of $1.4 to $1.5 billion - better than the consensus expectation of a $1.7 billion loss for the quarter ending later this month. Ford rose 31 cents to close at $7.93 today.

Navistar says it will keep making Ford diesels

Navistar International said late today it will keep producing diesel engines for Ford's Louisville-built Super Duty trucks as long as Ford continues paying for them. The agreement falls well short of settling a dispute between the two over whether Ford owes Navistar money or the other way around. Navistar spokesman Roy Wiley said the new order from a Michigan court signed today keeps the status quo established last week when a judge told Navistar to resume shipping engines and Ford to pay for them.

The agreement overrides a temporary order issued in the case, but the two sides will continue negotiating a settlement of the dispute. The announcement late today comes as Ford said it expects to have the Super Duty truck plant back to three full shifts by Monday. The two sides have been arguing over who’s responsible for the cost of recalls in past years and Ford has been withholding some of what it owes Navistar for the new engines to recoup its costs.

Navistar had cut off the supply of engines for the high-profit Super Duty, saying they would resume once Ford starts paying in full. Navistar idled plants in Indianapolis that employ 1,200 people, but the plants restarted Monday under a court order for Navistar to resume shipments of the engines. The Kentucky Truck Plant on Chamberlain Lane cut back production last week, shut down on Friday and was running at most two shifts this week.

At hearing Wednesday before Oakland County Circuit Court Judge John J. McDonald in Pontiac, Mich., attorneys for Navistar and Ford sought time to negotiate a settlement of the dispute. Navistar had said it wants Ford to pay back $125 million it held back from Navistar earlier this year. Ford says it is allowed under its contracts to withhold funds from suppliers in warranty disputes. Navistar says Ford warranty claims are bogus and disputes whether the contract allows such measures.

Northup, A RINO? Fuggedaboudit

From On the Right:

Brett Hall, former Fletcher Director of Communications and current campaign mouthpiece, is practicing political demagoguery by implying that Anne Northup "backs a tax increase". Mr. Hall should go back to New Jersey or wherever the hell he came from! In no way is Northup saying that she would raise taxes! Under Northup's proposal a local sales tax option would be up to the legislature; it would not be mandatory;and would require local government approval and approval by the people in a ballot referendum.

"Forget about it" is like if you agree with someone, you know, like "Anne Northup is a RINO, forget about it." But then, if you disagree, like, "Anne Northup’s education policy was brilliant… Forget about it!" you know? But then, it's also like if something's the greatest thing in the world, like the Anne Northup bad day video, "forget about it." But it's also like saying "Go to hell!" too. Like, you know, like, "Hey, Anne, you raising taxes?" and Anne says, "Forget about it!"

Anne Northup: Policy Wreck

From Kentucky Kurmudgeon:

Until this week, former U.S. Rep. Anne Northup had but one message: Gov. Ernie Fletcher can't win in the November election. Now, though, she is giving Republican voters a chance to see why she has a reputation as a policy wonk. Just posted on her Web site this week is a position paper on education that, when printed, runs to six pages.

The position paper touches on a variety of issues: improving math and science education, dealing with failing schools, being open to changes in student testing, handling students with special needs, teacher pay and teaching all non-English-speaking students to speak English.

The paper ends with a segment headed "Why me?" That's the question R voters have been waiting for her to answer. With other position papers scheduled to be rolled out by the Northup campaign in coming weeks, those voters soon will be able to compare what she has to offer with what Fletcher has delivered and promises to deliver in the future.

Policy wonk? Her policy was riddled grammatical errors and spelling inaccuracies.

Kentucky had been clamoring for Northup policy. Anne, please revert to your chanting… “Fletcher can’t win, Fletcher can’t win, Fletcher can’t win.”

If Nobody Endorses…

Senator Bunning and Lieutenant Governor Pence endorse Anne Northup. Governor Fletcher garners six Southeastern County Judge-Executives endorsements.

Any clerk of courts or sheriffs endorse him?

From Conservative Edge:

From a Fletcher for Governor press release: Six Southeastern County Judge-Executives Endorse Governor Fletcher Cite Leadership and Accomplishments during First Term. Six county judge-executives from Southeastern Kentucky have endorsed Governor Ernie Fletcher for re-election. McCreary County Judge-Executive Blaine Phillips, Adair County Judge-Executive Ann Melton, Whitley County Judge-Executive Pat White, Pulaski County Judge-Executive Barty Bullock, Clay County Judge-Executive Carl "Crawdad" Sizemore and Cumberland County Judge-Executive Tim Hicks, all pledged their support to Governor Fletcher.

"Governor Fletcher has amassed a long list of accomplishments during the first three years of his administration," they said. "His leadership and focus on improving the lives of Kentuckians is why we believe he should be re-elected. We stand behind the Governor and his great work" the judge-executives agreed in a signed letter of endorsement. They cited several reasons for their support. "

Under his leadership, Kentucky now leads the nation in Medicaid reform. We have more people working in Kentucky today than ever before and we continue to lure new businesses to the state. We are taking better care of our children and working hard to provide them with a solid educational foundation by investing in technology." "Governor Fletcher has earned our undivided support, and we pledge to give him that support today and through the 2007 election" they said.

"We encourage the voters to return Governor Ernie Fletcher to Frankfort for a second term." This brings the total number of county judge-executives who have endorsed Governor Fletcher to 29, including fellow Southeastern Judge-Executives Wilbur Graves of Monroe County, J. M. Hall of Knox County, and Albey Brock of Bell County.

Biting Legislation

Fletcher to lawmakers: Resolve differences or face special session

Gov. Ernie Fletcher said today he is ready to call a special legislative session if lawmakers do not resolve their differences on pension funds and other issues, such as funding for Wolf Creek Dam and the World Equestrian Games.

Governor Fletcher feigns toughness. I am sure the Senators are shaking.

Senate committee strips funding from Boni Bill

A Senate committee stripped funding from a bill designed to improve social worker safety –- narrowing its focus and deleting a provision that would have allowed the state to hire more than 100 social workers and staff. Rep. Tom Burch, D-Louisville, who sponsored the House bill, decried the move. "They made it into a social worker abuse bill," he said. "The Senate has absolutely lost their brains over there."

Social worker abuse bill? How is hiring additional staff abusive?

State pension overhaul stalls

The Senate and House are at a bitter impasse over how to address financial problems of pension funds for state retirees and teachers. The issue has developed into the most contentious in the final days of this year's legislative session. It is not clear whether the differences between the two chambers will derail action on other legislation, particularly on making changes in the state budget -- for example, spending $9 million for runway improvements at Blue Grass Airport. Both House Speaker Jody Richards, D-Bowling Green, and Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville, gave floor speeches yesterday, claiming the position of the other's chamber on pension funds was wrong.

Everyone commence working… Governor Fletcher has threatened a special session.

Senate mine safety bill nears passage

A measure intended to take some of the danger out of working in underground coal mines could clear the Senate by Monday, a key lawmaker said Thursday. Tom Jensen, R-London, said he expects the legislation, which was unanimously approved by the House earlier this week, to undergo a few modifications. Jensen, chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, met with coalfield legislators, industry representatives and safety advocates over the past two days and found substantial agreement. The measure was assigned to Jensen's committee. "I think we'll get something out," he said.

The bill passes, the bill is dead… Mine safety is Kentucky’s version of in and out.

Lawmaker tries to level playing field on lobbyist contributions

Rep. David Osborne, a Republican from Oldham County, has proposed a measure that would allow legislators running for office to accept contributions from lobbyists as well as another proposal that would ban all candidates from taking lobbyists' money. Osborne attached the two conflicting measures onto the Senate's campaign finance reform bill that's now pending in the House. "I just think it's a fairness issue," Osborne said.

Another politician fighting corruption. Everyone, climb Mount Everest. That is actually accomplishable.

Senate OKs higher minimum wage

Nearly 200,000 low-income workers moved closer to a major pay raise yesterday as the Republican-controlled Senate overwhelmingly approved a measure that would raise Kentucky's minimum hourly wage from $5.15 to $7.25 over the next two years.

Super markets prepare price guns…

Senate won't approve House-recommended changes to adoption bill

The Senate won't approve changes made by the House to a bill designed to provide more protection to biological parents in danger of having their parental rights terminated. Republican leadership decided during a caucus meeting Friday morning not to approve the changes. The move doesn't mean the issue is dead, said Sen. Julie Denton, R-Louisville. A compromise probably will be agreed to when the two legislative bodies go to conference, she said.

The adoption process is damaged. God forbid we attempt alteration.

Human trafficking bill headed to Fletcher

A bill to ban human trafficking in Kentucky won final legislative passage in the House today, a victory for advocacy groups who have said cases of forced labor or exploitation have begun to surface in Kentucky. The vote was unanimous.

This is Kentucky. How much human trafficking occurs?

Bill passed to hold down delinquent tax bill costs

Kentucky lawmakers have passed legislation aimed at holding down charges by investors who pile on legal fees and other costs when they sell a delinquent tax bill back to the original property owner.

Paging all certified public accountants…

Senate approves higher interstate speed limits; bill goes to governor

Motorists might soon be able to drive 70 mph on Kentucky's interstates and parkways under a measure approved by the state Senate on Friday. The measure now moves to Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher for his signature. In the past, Fletcher has been supportive of measures to raise the speed limit to 70. The Senate approved the higher speed limit last month.

Finally, speeding is legal.

Bill bans bus drivers from using cells while at wheel

Kentucky school bus drivers would be barred from using cell phones while transporting children under a bill approved by a Senate panel on Thursday.

Why is a law necessary?

Bill would ban alcohol-vaporizer devices

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill Thursday that would outlaw sale or ownership of an alcohol-vaporizer device to consume alcohol. "It’s the latest trend. We want to stop it in its tracks," Rep. Susan Westrom, a Lexington Democrat who is the sponsor of House Bill 125, told the committee.”

Drug users newest avenue.
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