Thursday, December 17, 2009

$1.5 Million embezzlement linked to gambling addict

Today's edition of the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer reported that an Owensboro woman embezzled nearly $1.5 million from elderly customers of the bank where she was employed. Authorities reported that the 40 year old lady used the money to fuel her casino gambling addiction. Earlier this year, we reported a similar situation regarding a Hopkinsville woman involved in embezzlement to fuel her casino gambling addiction. A trend? Maybe. Whatever the case, it is becoming ever so clear that casino addiction hurts not only the individual and their immediate family but anonymous citizens who least expect to be effected. To read more go to:

Monday, December 14, 2009

Politicizing Christmas has deep roots

The governor's recent debacle calling for a holiday tree instead of a Christmas tree underscores how politically charged Christmas has become in recent years and how the negative current from an unhappy electorate can shock the starch out of one's political socks. Of course, Gov. Beshear backpedaled in his decision faster than Ebeneezer Scrooge after being visited by the Ghost of Christmas Future.

Gov. Beshear argued that Christmas shouldn't be politicized--even in the midst of politicizing it. That is already old news, I know. He repented and we should forgive, for sure. But it seems that a government steeped in political correctness and a people mired in an identity crisis of sorts can learn something in the brouhaha over contemporary Christmas politics.

Those on the sidelines in this PC equivalent of a snowball fight will insist that Christmas is all about exchanging gifts, family gatherings, good food and drink, church plays with kids dressed up as donkeys and sheep, and seasonal carols. Of course, they're right, Christmas is all these things. but even while some may forget what to call the green tree strung with ornaments and bright lights we find in living rooms across the country at this time of year, we should remember what it is we celebrate--an easy thing to lose sight of in the shadow of Black Friday.

Central to Christmas is celebration of the Christ, the one the prophet Isaiah spoke about 700 years before the shepherds found him wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a Bethlehem manger. It's probably the least favored holiday today for those who embrace identity politics and worship at the altar of multiculturalism. Some wish Christmas away, or at least any official recognition of it. In Leesburg, Virginia, not only is the Christmas tree off limits this year, but so is the Crèche and Menorah. In Manitowac, WI, for the first time since WWII, the nativity will not be allowed on the county courthouse lawn. When the seasonal grinches and scrooges can't ban crèche's from the public square, they superimpose other holidays and invent myriad other reasons for celebration.

Perhaps the politicization of Christmas began with Isaiah's prophecy when he said the "government shall be upon his shoulders, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end." Can't this be interpreted to be a political statement as much as a theological statement? At least Herod thought so, that's why he set about to butcher every male baby in Judea. Isaiah's prophecy brings us full circle to why Christmas is still marginalized by some government officials today. They aren't interested in sharing the stage with another king, least of all, the King of Kings as Christians recognize Jesus to be.

So enmeshed are political implications in the first Christmas story that we're still dealing with the aftermath today--both on courthouse lawns and in the realm of public morals. In fact, what better backdrop than the first Christmas to review the moral and philosophical battles we face today? After all, Jesus was born to an unwed, teenage mother. Mary was maybe 14 or 15 years of age. Amidst the rumors of sexual immorality, her betrothed husband Joseph considered divorce. Neither of them buckled. Mary didn't abort, as she'd be encouraged to today. Joseph didn't push for divorce and took on the responsibility of fatherhood. What seemed like a mess for the young couple turned into the most beautiful story of all history--the incarnation of God who came to save sinners.

The prevailing political tide may continue to whitewash the public square of any Christmas references and politicians may refuse to call a Christmas tree what it is. But regardless of what any government does, they cannot sweep away the real import of Christmas, and the joy in the hearts of those who celebrate it.

Monday, November 9, 2009

From around Kentucky

Christmastreeaphobics still angry over Beshear reversal: Over at Barefoot and Progressive, they are under the impression that I have "worked myself up into a phony lather" about Gov. Grinch's replacement of the state Christmas tree with a "Holiday tree." We must have done a pretty good job of hiding our amusement. Why would it make us mad to see Beshear politically shoot himself in the foot?

Former proponents of letting the people decide on expanded gambling but who changed their mind for political convenience can't spell: Must be too much to drink at the casino. Blue Bluegrass can't seem to spell State Sen. Thayer's name right. Its "Damon," folks, not "Damien." But go ahead and read about why we should not let the people decide on the gambling issue from the people who elected a man who said exactly the opposite.

Rich horse tracks find another excuse to expand gambling: Ohio is allowing expanded gambling, therefore we should have it too. Let's hope they don't legalize drugs and prostitution.

State universities want more of your money: The Kentucky Council of Postsecondary Education will consider larger tuition increases than it said it was going to allow. Some state universities, already swimming in taxpayer cash because they won't control their spending, may be asking for more. Oh, and anyone notice that higher education has already implemented many of the ideas Congress wants to try on health care and that costs are even more out of control there than in the health care industry?

State universities wanting even more money. Not only tuition, but state money. They're insatiable.

State K-12 Schools having to actually get serious about school accountability: For years, state school officials have been telling everyone how serious they are about holding school accountable. Then, when they get pressure to implement charter schools from the federal government--which would result in real accountability--they oppose it. But the loss in federal money Kentucky could incur because of their intransigence may be too much for them.

Evolutionists reasoning badly: Kenneth Miller, a professor of genetics at Brown University spoke at the University of Kentucky on Oct. 21, making an impressive case for the compatibility between the belief in evolution and religion, but makes a big logical error unbefitting an upstanding member of the human species we will discuss next week.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Governor Who Stole Christmas: Beshear Administration to put up "Holiday Tree"

Judging from a politically correct announcement today from the Beshear administration, its heart is about two sizes too small.

The Kentucky Finance Cabinet tells people in an announcement that it wants Kentuckians, in the words of Charlie Brown's sister Sally, to "just send money" for the state's "Holiday Tree."

"The Commonwealth of Kentucky," says the release, "is looking for a property owner who is willing to donate a tree that will stand in front of the State Capitol as the Commonwealth Holiday tree."

Holiday Tree? One wonders about the blockhead who came up with this idea. Surely no one in the administration really wants to prevent Christmas from coming.

"The individual or family that donates the tree will be recognized at the tree lighting ceremony held at the Capitol."

Surely there is a Scrooge out there somewhere willing to donate a tree, particularly if it is in the cause of redefining the holiday to remove its Christian origin.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Beshear "handing legislature over to wealthy gambling interests" says anti-slots group

Gov. Steve Beshear is trying to "hand control of the legislature over to wealthy gambling interests," says an anti-slots group. The Governor announced the appointment of State Sen. Dan Kelly to a judgeship today. The move, widely viewed as part of a strategy of changing the makeup of the State Senate to favor the gambling industry, was criticized by an anti-slots group for distorting the political process to favor special interest politics.

"Just days after accusing State Sen. David Williams of 'playing games,' the governor goes and lures a political enemy out of the legislature where he won't stand in the way of the governor's special interest political agenda," said Martin Cothran, spokesman for Say No To Casinos. "This is a bald attempt to distort the political process by manipulating the makeup of the legislature."

"The Governor has become the puppet for the slots lobby. Now he wants them to pull the strings of the legislature. " This is the second time the governor has lured a high profile gambling opponent from the State Senate. The first came earlier this year when he appointed the chairman of the committee that defeated his slots bill to the Public Service Commission.

Cothran said that the governor's strategy to take over the legislature sets Kentucky government back by over 30 years. "This attempt to manipulate the legislature threatens to turn back the clock on Kentucky government. In the 1970s the legislature declared its independence from the governor's office and became a truly independent legislature. Beshear is trying to turn back the clock on good government. It's truly a shame."

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Anti-casino group calls on state Democrats to change their name

LEXINGTON, KY--An anti-casino group today responded to the Governor and race track interests who have said it's "too late" for the people to be involved in the decision over expanded gambling. "Now that Gov. Beshear has taken the position against voter ratification of any change in the Constitutional restriction on casino gambling, it seems sort of silly for him to call himself a 'Democrat'," said Martin Cothran, communications director for Say No To Casinos.

The group was responding to opposition from horse track interests to a plan to ensure that voters would have to approve any new expanded gambling plan. "The plan says that if we're going to do it, then the voters have to ratify it. For a politician to oppose that is political suicide."

Cothran said this was the first time in the debate over expanded gambling that anyone had publicly come out squarely against voter involvement in the decision. "There have been a lot of disagreements over the issue of expanded gambling, but so far this is the first time someone has said that voters shouldn't be involved in changing the Constitution."


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Casino addiction behind Western Kentucky million dollar swindle

Gambling advocates often tell us about all the good casino gambling will do for the economy. It's all sunshine and lollipops until we read a story like the one that broke yesterday in the Kentucky New Era. Eighteen Christian county residents lost a million dollars to a woman who gambled nearly $770,000 away at casino Aztar in Indiana, making clear what casino gambling can do for a local economy. At least its clear to the 18 residents who got scammed. To read more go to:

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

UK "Sex Week" sponsor promotes violence against women, group calls on UK to disassociate itself

LEXINGTON, KY—The sponsor of University of Kentucky's "Sex Week" sells "Bondage Fantasy" sets and handcuffs on its website, a fact that has prompted a state family advocacy group to ask how this works into one of the week's themes: protesting violence against women.

"We wonder how organizers of an event that's supposed to discourage violence against women justify promoting a group that considers handcuffs and whips 'bedroom accessories,'" said Martin Cothran, senior policy analyst with The Family Foundation. "What's next from UK, demonstrations against racism sponsored by organizations that sell white hoods?"

"For just $29.95, you can get everything you need from the sponsor of UK's 'Sex Week' to pretend you are beating up and humiliating women. If there's something about this that discourages violence against women, we'd like to know what it is. UK needs to disassociate itself from this as quickly as possible."

Among the many events at UK's "Sex Week"—which includes bellydancing lessons, "poetry slams" and “Tupperware” parties for sex toys—is a march down Lexington's Main Street that calls on male students at UK to wear women's high heel shoes as a way of protesting violence against women. "Maybe they should also wear the wrist and ankle restraints sold by the sponsor of their event," said Cothran. "That'll show 'em."

The primary sponsor of "Sex Week" is Pure Romance, Inc., which sells the "Beginner's Bondage Fantasy Set" ($29.95), as well as a whip for $14.00, handcuffs for $15.00, and the "Vanilla Bondage Set" for $12.00, which features ties that have "a loop at each end so they can easily be threaded on or off arms or legs, and are long enough to reach the leg posts of your bed."


Monday, October 5, 2009

Bellydancing Toward Gomorrah

There are many things parents make sure their daughters pack when they're getting ready for college: clothes, toiletries, towels, and laundry soap. But parents sending their daughters to the University of of Kentucky might think about adding one more item to the list: a chastity belt.

This week is "Sex Week" at the university. According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, the main aim of organizers is "sexual literacy." That's right. Today's college students apparently don't know enough about sex. If you didn't get that memo, don't worry, neither did we.

The organizers of "Sex Week" are apparently under the impression that our culture is prudish about sex. We should all try to remember that the next time we're treated to a television commercial for "masculine enhancement"--or the next time we find ourselves unconsciously humming the chorus to "Viva Viagra!"

But the organizers of "Sex Week" have a solution to this problem that is not really a problem: Tupperware parties for sex toys and performances of the Vagina Monologues.

That's right. And then there is Jonas Hans, UK assistant professor of Family Studies, and faculty adviser of "Sex Week," who is apparently UK's answer to Dr. Ruth: "Sexuality," he tells Alessi, "is something much broader than just sex. We love the tease of talking about sex," added the grim Dr. Hans, "but we don't like to talk about it openly and honestly and seriously." Yes, we must get more serious about sex, which is why Sex Week features ...

Bellydancing classes.

This scientific approach to the subject of sex involves getting "in tune with your body’s fluidity and sensuality" through "belly-flaunting and hip-moving." Or you can attend the "Poetry slam," where you can participate in "sexually and sensually-charged creativity flows."

Why is it that you get the idea that the people who put these things on wear tie dye t-shirts and beads, burn incense, and give their children names like "Rainbow," "Moon Beam," and "Sunflower"?

And then there is the event in which men (and I use that term here loosely) will walk down Main Street in women's heels to protest violence against women. No doubt the spectacle will drive the gorillas who actually perpetrate such violence weeping repentantly into the streets--that is, if they don't fall over laughing.

I mean, if you're going to trivialize sex, you might as well trivialize violence against women too.

In fact, why not have marchers wear the wrist and ankle restraints and whip that are part of the "Beginner's Bondage Fantasy" set sold by Pure Romance, Inc., the main sponsor of UK's "Sex Week"?

That'll show 'em.

But let's give the organizers of "Sex Week" some credit here. After all, they will be showing a film on sex researcher Alfred Kinsey, an actual scientist who in the 40s and 50s gave the leaders of the sexual revolution the statistics they needed to bring down traditional social norms and sexual restraints.

Of course there's not much of a chance the film will tell UK students about the fact that 25 percent of Kinsey's data sample was made up of prison convicts and male prostitutes.

Such revelations might interrupt someone's sensually-charged creativity flow.

But while Dr. Hans' goal is to get serious about sex, the other, seemingly conflicting goal of "Sex Week" is to enhance the romantic appeal of sex. Now in a culture in which university students are confronted with preachy condom demonstrations, HIV tests, and sermons from "health education coordinators" (I'm thinking Ben Stein should play this role in the movie version), why would sex lack any romantic appeal?

On second thought, maybe the chastity belts won't be needed. It could be that "Sex Week" organizers will succeed in making sex either so sterile or so trivial that no one will want to bother with it any more.

Martin Cothran is senior policy analyst with The Family Foundation of Kentucky.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

When Judges play God

In 2008, American Atheists filed a lawsuit against the state claiming they suffered sleeping disorders and "mental pain and anguish" because the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security recognized "the safety and security of the Commonwealth cannot be achieved apart from reliance upon Almighty God."
Well, they can finally get some rest. Last Wednesday, Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate struck down the part about relying on God, which leaves legislators and the rest of us wondering who we should now rely on.
"This is the very reason the Establishment Clause was created: to protect the minority from the oppression of the majority," Wingate wrote in his 18-page opinion.
Even if this was true, who is to protect the majority from the tyranny of the minority?
The trouble with Wingate's ruling is that it has no basis in our history. According to our founding political document, the Declaration of Independence, our nation is predicated on the idea that law comes from God. Law does not originate in people. Nor does it reside with special groups who clothe themselves in black robes, even if they might confuse themselves with the Almighty.
Like the Office of Homeland Security, the Declaration states, "With a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor." So if it was good enough for Thomas Jefferson and the other 55 signers to firmly rely on God, why is it so wrong with Kentucky acknowledging that our protection comes from God as well?
To be consistent, atheists and sympathetic judges ought to take on the preamble to the Kentucky Constitution and the Latin motto which was enacted in 2002. Then again, consistency seems to be in short supply these days. The official Latin motto is "Deo gratiam habeamus." It means "Let us be grateful to God" and finds its basis in the Preamble of the State Constitution which says, "We, the people of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties we enjoy, and invoking the continuance of these blessings, do ordain and establish this Constitution."
Wingate justifies his ruling by applying the First Amendment to this case, but such application is foreign to our history. The First Amendment was enacted to keep Congress from imposing a national church. It was not originally applied to states; some had state-sponsored churches into the early 19th century. It was not until the 1947 Everson ruling that the First Amendment was applied to individual states.
Sponsor of the Homeland Security provision, State. Rep. Tom Riner (D-Louisville), responded to the charge that the language establishes a religion. "They make the argument ... that it has to do with a religion, and promoting a religion," Riner said. "God is not a religion. God is God."
At a very basic level, Wingate's actions violate the separation of powers and usurp legislative authority. Legislators legislate. Judges are supposed to apply the law. Legislators hammer out public policy openly and consider public input. Judges render decisions privately with or without regard to public input. By striking down the legislature's action without a firm basis in history or precedent, Wingate shifted the balance of power in his favor as other unaccountable judges have done for decades. This judicial activism is an undemocratic way of going about the Commonwealth's business. By the way, when was the last time the legislature told a court it was wrong?
There are 32 references to God in state statutes and the constitution. The question is: who should decide how and when we acknowledge God – the people through their legislators, or judges who sometimes confuse themselves with God?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Another report from one of our higher reeducation camps (a. k. a. our colleges and universities)

Mary Grabar describes her experience as an adjunct English professor trying to teach, like, English--which is now apparently declasse in our higher re-education camps:
I’m an adjunct English professor. When the subject of adjunct faculty comes up, the predictable calls for unionization and “social justice” are often voiced by my tenured colleagues enjoying light teaching loads and by administrators enjoying comfortable salaries overseeing “multicultural” programs. But I know that I would not be among their intended beneficiaries were they made aware of my political views.

It’s not that I sought to be political when I returned to school in the 1990s to earn my Ph.D. I soon discovered, however, that political neutrality—even in literary studies—is suspect. In the academic world, the belief that great literature conveys universal, timeless themes is generally taken as evidence of an imperialistic outlook. The same holds for history, where the reliance on factual evidence and focus on major events are deemed offensive to women and those from non-Western cultures.

My fellow graduate students tailored their programs for the job market: studying African-American and gay writers, and applying the trendy postmodern, deconstructivist literary theories. Since 2002, when I earned my Ph.D. in English, the field has gotten even stranger, with such additions to the ideological postcolonial, African-American, and critical theory courses as “fat studies” and “trauma studies.” An upperclassman can enroll in “Introduction to Visual Rhetoric”—and then presumably in “Advanced Visual Rhetoric.” But how does my study of Plato and Cicero prepare me to teach these classes? ...
Read the rest here.

Monday, August 24, 2009

University of Kentucky scores a "C" on its core curriculum in national report

For Immediate Release
August 24, 2009

The University of Kentucky received a grade of "C" from a national organization that monitors what colleges and universities teach. In its report, "What Will They Learn?" the American Council of Trustees and Alumni gave it a mediocre rating on its general education requirements, and specifically criticized its natural science requirement because it could be met my taking courses which didn't teach natural or physical sciences.

"That a school attempting to be a 'Top Twenty Research School' would have a weak general education requirement in science is pretty pitiful," said Martin Cothran, senior policy analyst with The Family Foundation of Kentucky.

"No credit given for Natural or Physical Science," said the report of UK, "because the Natural Sciences requirement may be satisfied by courses from anthropology, political science, and psychology; and the College Laboratory or Field Work Experience requirement includes courses from the social sciences."

While crediting UK for its requirements in composition, language, and math, the report docked the state's flagship educational institution for week requirements in literature, U. S. government/history, economics, and science.

The report evaluated whether 100 major institutions require seven key subjects. "What we found is alarming," said the report's authors. "Even as our students need broad-based skills and knowledge to succeed in the global marketplace, our colleges and universities are failing to deliver."

The report comes during the same month that UK earned a lower ranking in the U. S. News and World Report national university rankings for the third straight year, falling from 112 in 2007, to 122nd in 2008, to 128th in 2009.


Friday, August 21, 2009

UK drops for 3rd straight year in national rankings

For Immediate Release
August 21, 2009

Contact: Martin Cothran
Phone: 859-329-1919

The University of Kentucky dropped in the U. S. News and World Report ranking for the third time in three years according to the magazine's newly released national rankings. "The three-year slide is bad enough," said Martin Cothran, senior policy analyst for the Family Foundation of Kentucky. "This report points out some problems the University of Kentucky needs to address."

The university went from 112th in the nation in 2007 to 122nd in 2008. This year it dropped further to 128th in the nation. Cothran pointed to a simple comparison with other SEC schools (excluding Vanderbilt), a comparison many Kentuckians would find familiar, that showed where the university needed to put its attention:
  • Diversity Index Rank: Worst
  • Average Freshman Retention Rate Rank: Lowest
  • Average Alumni Giving: 2nd lowest
  • Fall 2008 Acceptance Rate: 2nd highest
  • Average high school GPA: 2nd worst
  • Cost of room & board: Worst
  • Classes with fewer than 20 students: 2nd lowest
  • Classes with 50 students or more: 3rd highest
  • 6-year graduation rate: 2nd lowest
"Two years ago, the university argued that implementing domestic partner benefits would help it become a top 20 research school," said Cothran. "We argued then that the university needed to drop the political correctness and get its priorities straight. This report is further evidence that it hasn't done that."


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Debunking the Myths perpetrated by the Gambling Lobby

Myth #1 - There are 100,000 horse racing jobs in Kentucky:

Myth #2 - Kentucky's Horse Industry is dying due to lower purses:

Myth #3 - The Gambling Industry just wants to help Kentucky:

Myth #4 - Gambling is just entertainment:

Myth #5 - "Slots for Tots" - Gambling is great for children and their education. (Gambling opponents in another state posted this video and the similarities to Kentucky are striking.):

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Gambling "Revolution" in today's C-J

Family Foundation's Policy Analyst David Edmunds in today's Courier-Journal:

Third World Gambling Revolution

At a recent expanded gambling rally, a former governor referred to Senate President David Williams as a third world dictator and incited the crowd to “revolution.”

But even though the first shots heard in this revolution were heard in Lexington, they bear little resemblance to the first shots heard in the other Battle of Lexington over 200 years ago. The first battle culminated in the writing of a constitution. This battle is about overturning one.

The angry slots mob is rallying to change Kentucky government into a one-party machine. Through political intimidation and big-time donations from casino interests, pro-gambling Democrats currently have control of the Governor’s office and the State House. Now they want control over the Senate.

Rep. Carl Rollins (D) upped the rally rhetoric saying, “[Sen.] Kathy Stein had her two dogs here. That was in case David Williams showed up. She was going to chase his sorry ass all the way home.”

Apparently it’s not just dogs foaming at the mouth.

Like revolutionary rallies in some other countries, these rallies feature bussed-in workers in their horse track uniforms, who, after undoubtedly clocking in for the purpose, dutifully cheer on the speakers.

It’s a spectacle of which Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro would be proud.

One-party revolutions often benefit those at the top to the detriment of common laborers. If track-owners really wanted to help the rank and file, why not consider the Senate plan to boost purses and breeding incentives without slots? Tracks have refused because they are coveting a much bigger pay-off than just improved racing from enhanced purses. Making slot machines legal is the ultimate jackpot in separating a gambler from his money without the overhead of hay farmers, horse farmers, farriers, jockeys, or grooms.

One-party revolutions also need a complicit media. WHAS radio host Francene has been happy to oblige, filling the airwaves daily with pro-slots propaganda. When asked whether the opponents of slots could articulate the other side of the issue, she responded “There aren’t two sides of the issue.” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, with his penchant for authoritarian control of media would be smiling. As a Fox News affiliate, WHAS may have to change their tag line to “Fair and Balanced- except for Francene.”

Absent from media discussion of the issue is that the Senate allowed for a fair committee hearing on the slots bill, allowing both sides to testify. It was defeated on its merits. Williams did not employ procedural obstruction, yet the C-J, filled with the spirit of revolution, perpetuates this myth of Williams as dictator, calling him: “Ayatollah Williams.”

Legislators voting against slots will lose bags of cash from gambling interests, will likely face racino-financed opponents, and will certainly not get the kind of perks slots supporters can expect, like school building funds and Derby box seats.

The pro-slots revolutionaries don’t want Kentuckians to know there is no payoff for a legislator voting “no” on slots other than a clear conscience and the support of anti-gambling voters.

Legislators voting “yes” on slots are turning over the reigns of state government to gambling interests. To achieve the slot revenue of $796 million at a pay-out rate competitive with Indiana’s, gambling operators would control or “handle” over 9 billion dollars—more money than all of state government handles! With this type of financial stranglehold, the gambling revolutionaries can manipulate every aspect of state government.

Citizens have always feared the power gambling operators could wield in manipulating legislators. House members who voted “yes” on slots, have given ammunition to this one-party revolution and have been fooled if they believe that a Kentucky, led by only pro-gambling Democrats will advocate for the values that Kentuckians hold dear. This revolution will result in a quagmire of bloated government controlled by gambling bosses.

Remove the propaganda, personal attacks, and strong-arm tactics and the slot machine revolution is left with little more than poor public policy rooted in greed.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Slots for Tots can add Pot

If Kentuckians follow the "Slots for Tots" idea to its logical conclusion, the road will lead them to California with the push to legalize marijuana to help education. After all, if people are already doing it anyway, just legalize it and tax it.

This will teach the children!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Suicide claims Gambling-Addicted Louisville Doctor

Today's C-J ran a tragic story of a prominent Louisville doctor and horseman that took his own life and left a trail of misery because of gambling addiction. Please pray for his family and pray that lawmakers and citizens alike will wake up to the true destructive nature of expanded gambling. Lives are at stake. Read the article here.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Gambling Opponents victorious watch coverage here:

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Forbes covers Slot machine battle in Ky

Forbes magazine quotes David Edmunds, policy analyst for The Family Foundation. Read story here.

Friday, June 19, 2009

"We should be saddling horses, not taxpayers," says anti-slots group

June 19, 2009

Contact: Martin Cothran
(859) 329-1919

"We should be saddling horses, not taxpayers," said Martin Cothran, spokesman for Say No To Casinos. Cothran charged that taxpayers were being saddled with over a billion in debt to bail out wealthy horse racing tracks.

"At a time when many Kentucky taxpayers are struggling to pay their mortgages, state lawmakers in the House just voted to saddle taxpayers with the biggest mortgage since 1990 to bail out wealthy horse tracks, some of which pay their top executives millions of dollars in wages and benefits. There is no guarantee that we can pay this back."

"State lawmakers just foreclosed on common sense," said Cothran. "Unless the Senate stops this, financial irresponsibility will be Kentucky's signature industry."

The comments came after the House approved slots legislation with just 1 vote over the needed 51 votes – 52 to 45.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

State representative says he won't sell his vote for slots

In today's Glasgow Times:
Johnny Bell wants badly to help the Glasgow Independent School District replace its 44-year-old high school. So badly he was at least thinking about whether he could best serve his community by voting against expanded gambling or voting for a new Glasgow High School.

But then, he said, House Democratic leadership made it plain in a two-hour plus caucus meeting Tuesday – you either vote for slots at the tracks or you get nothing.

Bell has twice introduced bills to help districts like Glasgow raise more money for buildings – only to be told each time the state budget couldn’t handle it or now isn’t the right time.

“But I found out today we change the rules in midstream, and if a person is not able to vote for the gambling issue, then their school won’t be built,” said an obviously upset Bell after the caucus meeting.

Read more here.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Unconstitutional slots proposal heats up

Channel WLKY32 in Louisville covered Gov. Steve Beshear's unconstitutional plan to bring slot machines to the state's horse tracks as well as Senate President David Williams' alternative plan. Martin Cothran with Say No To Casinos weighs in:

Also, David Edmunds was interviewed by WHAS11 and WAVE3, both in Louisville:

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Alms for the Rich

At a time when many Kentuckians are losing their jobs, being put on furlough by their employers, and can't pay their mortgages, it is hard to envision why some people would want to pass legislation that would fatten the bank accounts of the wealthy horse racing tracks and horse farms, many of which are not even owned by Kentuckians.

It's even harder to envision how they think they can do it in clear violation of the Kentucky's Constitution.

The legislation, which could be taken up in a special legislative session recently called by Gov. Steve Beshear, proposes to put video slot machines at Kentucky's horse tracks. Video slot machines are the most predatory form of gambling, and they direct their appeal toward gamblers at the low end of the economic scale. These are people who could never even think of affording the lifestyle of those who would benefit under proposed legislation from the money these low-end gamblers will lose.

The chief impetus for the bill comes from the horse industry, which has come, gold-plated cup in hand, and tried to convince state lawmakers that good public policy demands alms for the rich.

As one former legislator likes to say, when poor people beg, they do it on the street corners. But when rich people beg, they do it in the halls of power. If the horse industry is in such financial straights, how can it afford the army of high priced lobbyists it has sent to the state capitol? And where are they getting all the money they have dumped into the advertising campaign that has now hit radio across the state?

The loudest voice calling for passage of the legislation is Churchill Downs, the state's largest horse racing track, and one which is almost exclusively owned by out-of-state investors. It argues that low purses threaten to kill horse racing in the state, which cannot compete with horse tracks in other states whose purses are subsidized by the profits from video slots.

If Churchill Downs is concerned about purses, why couldn't it have used some of the $121 million it recently lavished on remodeling the clubhouse to fund them? In fact, if things are so bad, how could Churchill Downs have afforded the project in the first place?

But even if bailing out a rich industry by expanding gambling in Kentucky served some public purpose, it would run head-on into the state's Constitution. Up until the last legislative session, expanded gambling advocates were pushing for a constitutional amendment because they believed--like everyone else--that the voters in 1988 approved only a state lottery, not other forms of gambling.

KEEP, the horse industry's largest lobbying group pledged it would only support legislation that guaranteed the money would go to education, in order to avoid a replay of anger over the Lottery proceeds not going to education, as voters were promised, until ten years later. And Gov. Steve Beshear said the following in his campaign for governor, a statement that is still on his campaign's web page:

It is time to put this question on the ballot and let the people of Kentucky decide. As Governor of this state, I will make sure that the people have an opportunity to make that choice.

But now all the rhetoric about "letting the people decide" has been discarded, the victim of political expediency. Now the message is that, without knowing it, voters actually approved slot machines in 1988.

Someone's going to get hoodwinked. It might as well be you.

There is nothing in the ballot language of the Lottery Amendment even hinting that voters were voting for anything remotely resembling video slots. In fact, not only did the Legislative Research Commission only discuss instant and online games in its explanation to voters in 1988, but when the amendment was debated on the floor of the House, bill sponsor Bill Donnermeyer assured his fellow lawmakers that the Lottery amendment did "not provide for slot machines or anything like that."

After playing fast and loose with the Lottery money in the 1990s that was supposed to go to education, are lawmakers now going to tell Kentuckians that it was all part of a bait-and-switch strategy to get them to vote for something they had no intention of voting for?

The proponents of expanded gambling are again making big promises to the people of Kentucky. They would be a lot more believable if their record on keeping past promises wasn't so bad.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Americans still strongly oppose same-sex "marriage"

Here is Robert Schlesinger in U. S. News on Gallup's latest poll:

According to the poll, a strong majority of Americans (57 percent) continue to oppose gay marriage (with 40 percent favoring it). The good news is that in digging deeper one can find some reasons for optimism.

First the bad news: Gallup notes that support for gay marriage has come a long way since it first asked the question in 1996 (when Americans opposed it by 68 percent to 27 percent), but the progress has essentially stalled in the last five years, with support in the low 40s and opposition in the upper 50s.

All you gotta do is replace 'bad' with 'good', and 'pessimism' with 'optimism'. Schlesinger is obviously impatient with Americans whose moral convictions are not directly indexed to constantly evolving convictions of the cultural elite.

In other words, if he doesn't like it, it's got to be good.

Another gambling promise broken

Steve Beshear announced today he has selected his deputy chief of staff Vince Gabbert to head up his office's campaign to convince Kentuckians they approved video slot machines in 1988 without knowing it.

But wait! What's this? Didn't Beshear promise in his campaign he was going to make sure this issue made the ballot?
"It is time to put this question on the ballot and let the people of Kentucky decide. As Governor of this state, I will make sure that the people have an opportunity to make that choice."
Broken promises on the spending of the Lottery money, broken promises on what voters were told they were voting on, and now broken campaign promises.

Anyone notice a pattern developing here?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Down and Out? Rest assured Churchill Downs may get a bailout

The Associated Press quotes Martin Cothran in its story on slots at tracks on Sunday. It was picked up by
"We have Kentuckians who are losing their jobs, who are being put on furlough by their employers, and who can't pay their mortgages," Cothran said. "The solution to that is not fattening the bank account of Churchill Downs. This is a millionaires' bailout."

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Family Foundation tells reporters: Slots plan is unconstitutional

May 20, 2009 - WHAS 11 (ABC affiliate) in Louisville interviewed David Edmunds

May 20, 2009 - WAVE 3 (NBC affiliate) in Louisville interviewed David Edmunds

May 20, 2009 - WTVQ 36 (ABC affiliate) in Lexington interviewed David Edmunds

May 20, 2009 - WKYT 27 (CBS affiliate) in Lexington interviewed David Edmunds. Click here to link to that story.

May 19, 2009 - WTVQ 36 (ABC affiliate) in Lexington interviewed Kent Ostrander

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Voters, not lawyers, have the final say on Constitutional amendments says anti-casino group

For Immediate Release
May 19, 2009
Contact: Martin Cothran
Phone: 859-329-1919

An anti-casino group opposing a bill to place video slot machines at race tracks said today that it doesn't think another attorney general's opinion on the issue is necessary to tell people what they already know. "We certainly have confidence in Jack Conway," said Martin Cothran, spokesman for Say No To Casinos, "but it doesn't take an attorney general's opinion to tell us that people weren’t voting in favor of slot machines when they voted for the Lottery in 1988."

Cothran made the remarks in the wake of reports that former House Speaker Jody Richards (D-Bowling Green) had requested an opinion from Jack Conway's office.

“In Kentucky, lawyers don't have the final say on Constitutional amendments. Voters have the final say," Cothran said, "and in 1988 voters said they approved a lottery, not slot machines."

Cothran said that both voters and lawmakers were told in no uncertain terms in 1988 that the Lottery would not include casino-style gambling, and that the idea that the constitutional amendment allows for video slots was a "constitutional fiction" invented by imaginative lawyers.

"The idea that voters approved slot machines in 1988 is so outrageous, only a lawyer could believe it."


Friday, May 15, 2009

Kentucky could legalize pot-slots

California's Governator, Arnold Schwarzenegger is looking for money to plug the holes in his state's budget, and according to his recent press appearances, he is lobbying for studying the way other countries profit from the legalization and taxation of marijuana and other illicit drugs.

Medical marijuana is already legal in the Golden State and marijuana vending machines are taking root in Los Angeles.

If Kentucky lawmakers follow existing logic on the legalization of slot machines . . . IF a) they are bad for citizens but b) the state needs the money and people gamble anyway, THEN why not allow slot machines to dispense the wacky weed to losing players for an additional taxable fee? At least then the losers might forget that they are flushing their economic survival down the drain with every pull of the one arm bandit.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Expanded Gambling advocates in State House pushing for video slots

Here is the Courier-Journal's report:
House Speaker Pro Tem Larry Clark, D-Okolona, told WHAS-11 that he wants the House to vote on video lottery terminals at race tracks and put the onus on the Senate to decide whether "to kill a $4 billion industry in the Commonwealth."

Clark said he and Speaker Greg Stumbo are meeting with Gov. Steve Beshear on Thursday to discuss the issue.

Clark mentioned June 15-30 for a possible special session.
The question is, will House members want to risk their own political reputations by voting for a bill that stands almost no chance of passage in the State Senate.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Is Churchill Downs throwing the horse industry under the bus?

Churchill Downs is having its commitment to live racing questioned by some investors and analysts. Here is the Courier-Journal's report on a conference call where CEO Bob Evans tried to argue that the company isn't abandoning racing.

Only problem is horsemen are mad at them for the company's penchant for trying to squeeze horse owners and trainers.

And this is one of the companies that gives lectures to people like myself about how we need more mechanized gambling to support the horse industry. But it's looking more like mechanized gambling, where there are more profits, isn't the company's salvation, but its undoing.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The poor promise of gambling profits

Advocates of video slots at tracks not only have to contend with the fact that their proposal is unconstitutional but with the fact that their claims that millions of dollars would be produced for the state and the horse industry simply don't comport with the real world.

Here is Celeste Hadrick at Newsday on the fall in gambling revenues:
"Just as people cut back their spending during the current recession, gamblers have cut back on the dollars they bet.

... New York's drop in horse-race wagering mirrors a general decline in gambling overall throughout the country.

... Atlantic City's 11 casinos reported a 19.4 percent decrease in gambling revenue in March alone, the largest year-over-year decline in the resort's 31- year gambling history, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported last month.

Even in glitzy Las Vegas, revenue is off 20 percent because of the global recession, news services reported last week."
Read the rest here.

Friday, April 24, 2009

"Tolerance" replaces civic history class in Jefferson County

A Courier-Journal article today announced that 9th graders in Jefferson County schools will be required to learn "tolerance" in the place of regular history and civics curriculum. While on its face the coverage of the holocaust in the course is important, questions remain about who gets to define what "tolerance" is for the students.
"The course -- Exploring Civics: Facing History and Ourselves -- is a new offering this year for freshmen in Jefferson County Public Schools that has teachers and students raving about the hands-on lessons and discussions about tolerance, social justice and civic participation."
Jefferson County Superintendent Sheldon Berman brought the course from Massachusetts where he was first introduced to in in the 70s. "Students learned a great deal, but I saw them grow morally, socially and in the complexity of their thinking," Berman said.

Local activists including the NAACP applauded the move.

Students will begin to see their school as an ethical community where issues of prejudice, tolerance and justice are vitally important," Berman said. "It will make kids much more responsible students."
Haven't liberals in the education field always denounced "making" kids responsible and imposing "morality" as a foundation for expunging all references to prayer and religion in our schools?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

FDA handing out "Morning After Pill" like candy

In response to a Federal ruling yesterday, the FDA has announced that they will adjust policy and allow Plan B, "The Morning After" pill to not only be distributed without a prescription, but now allow 17 year olds to purchase it over the counter.

Now let's see here: The "Morning After "pill is an extremely high dosage of the birth control pill. The regular dosage of the birth control pill requires a prescription from a physician who has examined the patient and is monitoring her risks. But now, this much higher dose can be purchased by a freckled-face teen like chewing gum 4 full years before she can buy a wine cooler.
And the Obama administration says it is putting science ahead of politics. Really?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Craigslist KILLER's motive-casino gambling debt?

ABC News is reporting that muder suspect Philip Markoff, dubbed the "Craigslist Killer," gambled all night at the Foxwoods Casino two days after allegedly murdering a young woman. Markoff allegedy bound, gagged, and robbed one woman and brutally murdered another. Police are investigating a possible third incident.

"A police source close to the investigation told ABC News this week that police believe Markoff's motive in the alleged crimes was to pay off gambling debts."

And Kentucky policy makers don't understand why honest citizens don't want expanded gambling and the type of people it attracts in their communities?

Read the "Craiglist Killer" story here.

U of L spends money lobbying for gay agenda AND raises tuition again

The C-J reported today that U of L just announced that they intend to raise tuition next year by the maximum allowed by the state - 5%. This annual increase comes on the heels of 9% increases every year for the past several years and leaves parents wondering what costs so much.

In a case of terrible timing by the university's newspaper, The Louisville Cardinal printed a story this week highlighting the well-paid executive director of U of L's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) services, Brian Buford, and his political lobbying efforts against SB68 that would prohibit gay, bisexual, and trasgender couples from fostering and adopting children in the state's care.

Would most taxpayers, parents who pay exhorbitant tuition, and donors to the university appreciate their money being spent on LGBTQ political action?

This pattern is nothing new for U of L President James Ramsey, who has defended spending money on domestic partner benefits, $1 million of Bucks for Brains money on Drag-Queen Studies, and university funds on the LGBTQ center and its paid director. He is quoted in the C-J saying, "We know that this will create hardship for some of our students."

But this hardship is apparently not moving him to rein in spending on political activism that most taxpayers don't agree with.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Kentucky Lottery celebrates 20-year history of addicting citizens

The Courier-Journal ran stories this week celebrating the Lottery's 20th anniversary. These promotional announcements from the Lottery Commission are just poory veiled attempts at boosting predatory gambling's image in the quest to bring slot machine barns to Kentucky.

What caught my attention in the article and should arrest the attention of policy makers and citizens alike was the poster child for the Lottery that the paper interviewed:
"Charles Conley had stopped at the store on the way to his construction job. He said he has been playing the lottery 'since day one.' He said he usually spends $20 to $25 in the morning on lottery tickets and the same amount in the evening.

"I usually break even," Conley said, adding that he wishes he didn't spend so much money on tickets. "I'm trying to cut back, but I keep playing because of the possibility of winning thousands of dollars."
$50 a day, 5 days a week = $13,000 annually
$13,000 annually for 20 years = $260,000

The sad part is that this Kentucky construction worker is trying to "cut back" but is convinced by the Lottery Board's ad campaign that he can win thousands.

When legislators convene a Special Session this summer, they must consider whether expanding the Lottery Board's power to addict citizens to slot machines and bankrupt them in a recession is public policy that they can be proud of.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

David Edmunds on "Hot Button" editorial

The NBC affiliate in Louisville (Wave 3) featured David Edmunds discussing this week's Ultrasound opportunity in the General Assembly on their "Hot Button" editorial, which aired March 23 & 24.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Family group releases video regarding possible State House ultrasound vote

For Immediate Release
March 23, 2009
Contact: David Edmunds
Phone: 502-457-5744

LEXINGTON, KY--The Family Foundation released a video today revealing Senate President David Williams challenging House Speaker Greg Stumbo to pass ultrasound legislation on the last two days of this legislative session.

* Legislative coverage courtesy of KET.

"There is still time...and there will be other bills that pass," says the Senate President in the video. The Foundation is urging House Democratic leadership to allow a full vote on HB 241, a bill that would provide women an opportunity to view their ultrasound 24 hours before making a final decision to have an abortion.

The State Senate attached the language to a House bill that has already passed both chambers and is headed back to the House for concurrence. Williams tells Stumbo in the video, "It's coming, get ready it's coming your way." The bill will receive a vote unless it is blocked by House Leadership.

"This bill is in the House and is still very much alive," said David Edmunds, policy analyst with The Family Foundation. "The only thing blocking it from a vote is House Leadership. This is a test for the new House leadership on family issues. It will tell us where they stand."

The video is being distributed statewide in an effort to inform Kentuckians of this important legislation.

The Prichard Committee in Wonderland: When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead

In response to my recent post "The Death of KERA," Susan Weston at the Prichard Committee Blog characterizes me as "spinning wondrous tales" over the years about a KERA dragon that ravages the land eating educators caught teaching spelling and setting fire to villages caught administering multiple choice tests. The real story of KERA, she says, "has been dull by comparison."

I've heard KERA called a lot of things, but this may be the first time it has been called "dull." After disagreeing with the dragon narrative, Weston relates her own narrative--one in which everyone lives happily ever after:
KERA delivered stronger and fairer school funding, reduced political corruption, and vastly improved facilities and technology. It nurtured more focused teachers, better instructional leaders, and a big step up in justified pride in public education. We've still got work ahead to strengthen classroom work, not because the primary program, extended school services, or sustained professional development were mistakes, but because we didn’t put in the hard work to help them succeed.
I'll leave it to readers to determine which is the fairy tale.

I don't remember actually comparing KERA to a dragon, but I do remember comparing it to Alice in Wonderland. In fact, my career as a prominent KERA critic back in the 1990s began with a public debate in the Danville newspaper with none other than Susan Weston, a debate in which I compared the rhetoric about all students being equal to the caucus race in Lewis Carroll's book, an event in which everyone wins--and everyone get's a prize.

That was only one of the silly and sometimes surreal practices that were foisted on schools when the reforms were implemented. It was a bit like being in a Jefferson Airplane song. There was best guess spelling, and the new New Math, and open classrooms, practices most of us thought were discredited in the 1960s, but which those implementing KERA thought the rest of us had forgotten. The only thing missing was tie-dye T-shirts and peace signs.

I remember a retired superintendent calling me one day after something I had said in the newspaper. "You're absolutely right," he said. "We had just put the walls back up in our building that they had torn down when we were doing open classrooms, and then we had to tear them back down again for the non-graded primary program."

Oh, and I didn't see anything in Weston's tale about the year that, under the KIRIS testing system (the precurser to CATS), the best school district in the state (Anchorage Independent) was rated the worst. Not exactly a result that comports with logic and proportion.

It's a story I've told many times, but just for old time's sake, I'll tell it one more time. I went to an inservice day in 1992 at Lawrence Dunbar High School with a friend of mine. The Department of Education presenter approached the podium and began her harangue about the evils of traditional education techniques and explained why we needed to replace them with the "new" practices under KERA.

"When you learn," she asked, "do you sit in straight rows of desks, sitting under phosphorescent lights listening to a lecture? Or do you do it better sitting back on a couch, with the sun coming through the window, and talk with your best friend?"

Exactly how we were going to provide this experience for the tens of thousands of school children in Kentucky wasn't exactly clear, but I remember leaning over to my friend and whispering, "Look around the room." We were surrounded by teachers and administrators sitting in straight rows of desks, under phosphorescent lights, listening to a lecture.

To make any sense of that, you'll have to go ask Alice (when she's ten feet tall).

Or maybe I'll just take Susan up on her offer to visit her at her favorite hangout: Danville's "Hub." I suppose it is fitting that the debate over KERA should begin and end with the same two people jousting over education policy. I might even try those "magic free muffins" she mentions they sell there--although I'm not entirely sure, given her fanta

Dictionaries changing the definition of marriage

In gathering together their definitions of words , several major dictionaries are joining together politics and language in holy matrimony. Several dictionaries, including Merriam-Webster and Webster's New World College Dictionary, have changed the definition of marriage to include same-sex marriage.

If anyone feels these two should not be united in Holy Matrimony speak now or forever hold your peace.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Death of KERA

The Kentucky Education Reform Act of 1990 is now officially dead. The program was made up of many components, some of which have effectively been abandoned (like the nongraded primary), and others that live on (the family resource and youth services centers), but the heart of the program was always the testing system.

And when the heart goes, so does the body.

You could call this a transplant, of course--taking out a high stakes test that measures the performance of schools, not students, that uses unreliable open response questions rather than multiple choice questions, and that grades schools on subjective portfolio assessments, and replacing it with one that doesn't do those things. But it hardly seems worth the trouble to attempt it.

No. This was turning off the life support machines.

The irony of this whole thing is that those of us who fought this back in the 1990's advised policymakers to do exactly what they did today: to drop portfolios from the accountability for schools, to drop the ridiculous open response items that have not (Repeat: have not) improved writing, and give parents a test they can adequately judge the progress of their children with.

We were told we were against education. That we were not hip with the educational times. That we were not familiar with the educational research (that was really just trendy pronouncements) that said this stuff would work. That we were opposing progress in schools.

Funny. Do you hear any of that now? What was the House vote? 93-0?

I suppose I should feel vindicated, but I wonder about the Lost Generation: the children who went through the KERA system who were denied a proper grounding in basic skills in the nongraded primary program. Who were told they were learning to write but who were instead denied help in grammar and spelling by teachers who, because they were told they couldn't, were scared to say anything. Who thought they were learning to read, but denied help in sounding out words because it was discouraged by whole language advocates.

What about them?

In his book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas Kuhn argues that movements don't die because they were repudiated; they die because the leaders of those movements themselves die. We may have the same thing here. How many of the people who voted for the Kentucky Education Reform Act of 1990 are still in the legislature? I'm thinking it is less than 20.

One of the people in the legislature when KERA passed was Ed Ford. Ford chaired the Senate Education Committee, helped shepherd the bill through the legislature, and assisted in its implementation. Ford one proclaimed that "it would be a generation" before we knew whether KERA had worked.

Well, a generation has passed. And we know now, don't we? Who ever thought that such a momentous action as was taken today would have been attended with such little fanfare? I'm told that that's not uncommon when they turn off the life support machines of a dying patient.

Will the last person out of Kentucky's Education Reform Headquarters please turn off the lights?

Ultrasound legislation is still alive

For Immediate Release
March 13, 2009
Contact: David Edmunds
Phone: (502) 457-5744

LEXINGTON, KY—“The Senate has proven once again that it is whole-heartedly committed to the sanctity of life,” said David Edmunds of The Family Foundation in response to the Senate’s action today to amend House Bill 241 to include language from SB 79, The Ultrasound Bill.

The Ultrasound Bill would require abortionists to offer face-to-face consultation and the availability of an ultrasound for a woman seeking an abortion. It passed the Senate 33-4 on March 2, but failed to pass out of the House Health and Welfare Committee where Committee Chairman Tom Burch has previously promised to kill it.

“Tuesday's 8-8 vote in the House Health and Welfare Committee prevented SB 79 – The Ultrasound Bill – from going to the House floor, where we were confident it would pass,” said Edmunds. “With an overwhelming vote, the Senate has now included the essence of SB 79 into HB 241, and it is headed back to the House floor.”

“Only House Leadership can stop it now. They have a second chance to do the right thing and save the lives of hundreds of babies and the heartache of hundreds of women.”

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Family group responds to defeat of The Ultrasound Bill

For Immediate Release
March 10, 2009
Contact: David Edmunds
Phone: (502) 457-5744

LEXINGTON, KY—“The ‘Grim Reaper’ of Kentucky’s General Assembly strikes again,” said David Edmunds of The Family Foundation in response to today’s action. “Tom Burch upheld the promise he recently made in The Courier-Journal to kill the bill; he did it by actively lobbying to bring the bill to his committee where he knew he could kill it.”

Rep. Tom Burch (D-Louisville), Chairman of the House Health & Welfare Committee called for a vote today on SB 79, The Ultrasound Bill, with limited discussion. The bill failed to clear the committee on an 8-8 vote.

“Burch’s actions today come as no surprise, given his past promises,” said Edmunds. “What is a surprise is that this new House leadership team sent this bill to his committee where Burch was intent on its defeat.”

“Last year, previous House Leadership sent the bill to Judiciary where Kathy Stein killed it,” Edmunds explained. “It appears this leadership has a new hatchet man in Tom Burch.”

“This leadership team had talked about a new tone in Frankfort, but this seems like politics as usual when the whole House is denied an opportunity to vote on this bill, thus denying women their medical ultrasound records and the opportunity to make a fully informed choice.”

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

At rally for family legislation, Senate President calls on Kathy Stein to apologize to the state’s foster parents

For Immediate Release
March 3, 2009
Contact: Martin Cothran
Phone: (859) 329-1919

LEXINGTON, KY—At a rally for “The General Assembly’s Covenant with Kentucky Families,” Senate President David Williams said State. Sen. Kathy Stein “owes a public apology to the state’s foster parents” for saying that the 7,000 children in state foster care are “unwanted.” In her arguments against SB 79 during yesterday’s floor discussion, Stein indicated that the state already has enough “unwanted” children, referring to those in the foster care system. SB 79, one of the bills in The Covenant, would require abortionists to give young women the opportunity to see an ultrasound of their unborn child.

Williams responded to the crowd of 150 to 200 that had gathered in the Capitol Rotunda to support The Covenant legislation that the 7,000 children in foster care are not unwanted, “otherwise there wouldn’t be foster parents.” He also added that “some mother loved those 7,000 children enough to let them come into the world to be born.”

Williams’ response came in one of several speeches made by a packed field of family groups and state lawmakers who expressed support for family-friendly legislation. The event, sponsored by The Family Foundation, was organized to express support for five bills, called “The General Assembly’s Covenant with Kentucky Families,” some of which are now making their way to the State House.

Williams said that groups like The Family Foundation and Right to Life were making sure that legislators “don’t leave their conscience and values at home.”

"From today’s rally it seems pretty clear there is significant support for this kind of legislation,” said Kent Ostrander, executive director for The Family Foundation. “It’s hard to get this many busy lawmakers to come to anything. That tells us we’ve struck a chord among the state’s policymakers.”

The rally featured 18 state lawmakers, including Senate President David Williams and Senate President Pro Tem Katie Stine, State Representatives John Carney, Ron Crimm, C. B. Embry, Richard Henderson, Joe Fischer, Mike Harmon, Melvin Henley, Tim Moore, Tom Riner, Addia Wuchner, Brad Montell and State Senators Vernie McGaha, John Schickel, Gary Tapp, Elizabeth Tori, and Jack Westwood.

The “Covenant with Kentucky Families” includes:
· SB 79: Legislation requiring abortionists to give young women the opportunity to see an ultrasound of their unborn child
· SB 42: The Public Decency Act, which would ban totally nude dancing in strip bars
· SB 1: Seeks changes to the state’s CATS tests that would make them less burdensome on schools and more focused on learning
· SB 68: The “Child Welfare and Adoption Act” that would ensure foster care and adoptive children are not placed in homes where there is an unmarried, live-in sexual partner
· SB 186: A Special Needs Education bill that would allow children with special needs to transfer to a school where they can get better assistance

Ostrander said he had hopes that several of these bills would be heard in the House.


Friday, February 27, 2009

Is the Adulterers' Rights Act of 2009 dead?

House Bill 28, which would overturn the Rhoades v. Ricketts decision by the Kentucky Supreme Court appears to be stalled.

The bill died for lack of a majority in the House Judiciary Committee before one of the committee members changed his vote later in the meeting and voted for it, although he said he would vote against it on the House Floor, but the bill has now stalled in the Rules Committee. Why?

Here's my take: When House leadership saw that this bill didn't have 9 real supporting votes in Judiciary, and it was made clear to them that there was serious opposition on the floor--possibly enough to send the bill down in flames--they decided to hold it back. Then Joe Fischer filed two amendments which would restore the original language to the law, effectively neutering the bill--more evidence that HB 28 was in trouble.

This House leadership team prides itself on a clean well run chamber. After last year's messy debacle with Jody Richards at the helm, this leadership team promised a more efficient House, and they have largely delivered. A competent leadership team does not let bills go for a vote that are not assured of passage: it makes them look like they're not in control.

I'm betting they saw the ugly debate coming and that they're now thinking of sending it to A&R or some other legislative graveyard.

Friday, February 20, 2009

State family group expresses surprise at lawmaker’s public declaration to kill pro-life bill

For Immediate Release
February 20, 2009
Contact: Martin Cothran
Phone: (859) 329-1919

LEXINGTON, KY—A state family advocacy group says the fate of an important pro-life bill is now in the hands of House leadership. “This will be the first major indication of how this new House leadership team will treat family legislation,” said Martin Cothran, senior policy analyst with The Family Foundation.

The legislation, Senate Bill 79, was approved by a Senate committee and is headed to the House, where the five-man legislative team will decide what committee to put in – a decision which could determine the fate of the bill.

SB 79 would ensure that a young woman considering abortion would receive full ultrasound information about her unborn child. But in an unusual move for a committee chairman, Tom Burch, the chairman of the House Health & Welfare Committee has gone public in saying that he will kill the bill, telling one reporter, "I'll have a hearing on it April 15. That's a month after the session ends."

Cothran wondered if Burch was becoming a loose cannon in the House. “This puts House leadership in a difficult position,” said Cothran. “If they put it in this committee, it will look like they intend to kill the bill, and we think there are people on the new leadership team that may not want that. We’re surprised that a committee chairman would put leadership in this position.”


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Adulterers' Rights Act approved by legislative committee

For Immediate Release
February 18, 2009
Contact: Martin Cothran
Phone: 859-329-1919

LEXINGTON, KY—A bill that some are calling the "Adulterers' Rights Act" was approved by a State House committee yesterday after being rejected by the same committee earlier in the day. "There was obviously some kind of political pressure applied to legislators to pass a bill with which most of them were clearly uncomfortable," said Martin Cothran, senior policy analyst for The Family Foundation. The bill, House Bill 28, could be voted on by the full House as early as next Wednesday.

The bill would overturn a Kentucky Supreme Court case that involved a man who had an affair with a married woman who remained in a viable marriage. The court found that the biological father, which it termed "an interloper," had no right to further disrupt the marriage with a paternity claim, since the law deems the child to be the child of the marriage, and the husband had agreed to raise the child as his own.

"If we're going to give parental rights to someone solely on the basis that they're biologically related (and interrupt a marriage in the process), then what prevents a rapist from asserting parental rights?" asked Cothran.

Cothran also questioned how legislators could vote in good conscience to overturn a court decision which most of them clearly hadn't read. "If you're going to vote to overturn important court cases, you should at least have read them," Cothran said. "The only legislator on the committee who seems to be familiar with the actual case was Brent Yonts, and he's planning on voting against it on the floor."

"HB 28 seeks to give credence to a biological father's claim of paternity by allowing him to further disrupt a marriage he has already threatened by his previous irresponsible act. The Kentucky High Court ruled correctly in protecting the husband, the wife, and the child—and the legal status of marriage in general."

"We don't need to be overturning this important legal decision regarding the sovereignty of marriage," said Cothran. "We need to be applauding it."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

State family group says child safety, not politics, should be put first in adoption

For Immediate Release
February 17, 2009
Contact: David Edmunds
Phone: 502-457-5744

LEXINGTON, KY— A state family advocacy group has endorsed SB 68, which would prevent the state from placing children in foster or adoptive homes where there is an unmarried sexual partner staying in the home. “It is the sacred duty of the Commonwealth to find the best home possible for children in their care,” said David Edmunds, policy analyst for The Family Foundation.

“Decades of social science warn against the dangers of children born out of wedlock; why would Kentucky intentionally place children with couples that do not have a stable marriage as their foundation?” Edmunds also points out that cases of abuse are often at the hands of a live-in boyfriend or girlfriend.

Gay rights activists have cried foul because the bill would apply to unmarried, homosexual partners as well as unmarried, heterosexual partners. “This is about what’s in the best interest of children, not the political agenda of a special interest group,” said Edmunds.

Opponents also claim that the bill would reduce the number of available homes for child placement. Edmunds explains that the opposite is true. “Many adoption agencies in Kentucky are faith-based and already have policies that do not allow live-in sexual partners,” Edmunds said. “This bill will actually protect those agencies that are recruiting adoptive families from being shut down by state agencies.”

When a Kentucky agency denied gay partners last year from adopting a young boy, Rep. Tom Burch told The Courier-Journal that it was ‘bad policy’ and that the state should review the contracts of any agency with this policy. The Catholic Charities of Boston was forced to stop its 100-year history of recruiting adoptive couples in the state of Massachusetts because they refused to adopt to gay couples.

The Child Welfare Adoption Act, SB68, was filed by Sen. Gary Tapp (R-Shelbyville).

HPV vaccine mandate being pushed despite warnings

For the third year in a row, Kentucky State Rep. David Watkins (D-Owensboro) is pushing a bill that would force 9- to 11-year-old girls to receive the HPV vaccine in order to attend school. The general consensus of the medical community including the CDC, the American College of Pediatricians, and the American Academy of Family Physicians is to oppose a mandate, but apparently Rep. Watkins thinks he knows better.

Watch the video where David Edmunds testifies and Rep. Tom Burch (D-Louisville) can be seen suppressing the truth of the medical community with his committee shenanigans.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Biology does not trump marriage

For Immediate Release
February 11, 2009

Contact: Martin Cothran
Phone: 859-329-1919

LEXINGTON--A state family group is opposing a proposed state law that it says would weaken the legal status of marriage. The bill, House Bill 28, would allow the father of child born from an adulterous relationship with a married woman to claim parental rights to the child even after the woman had reconciled with her husband. The bill would effectively overturn the Rhoades v. Rickett's decision in which the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled last year that the marriage prevailed over the biological father's claim.

"At a time when we need to be strengthening the legal status of marriage, this bill weakens it," said Martin Cothran, senior policy analyst with The Family Foundation of Kentucky. "A marriage does not automatically end when one party to the marriage commits adultery, but that would be the legal effect of this bill."

Proponents of the bill argue that the mere fact that a man is the biological father of a child is sufficient to warrant parental rights, but Cothran argued that this has never been the case. "If you take this argument to its logical conclusion, then the biological father of a child born through in vitro fertilization to a mother married to another man could gain parental rights. In fact, if biology trumps everything else, what stops a rapist from claiming parental rights?"

One of the purposes of marriage law is to protect the members of the marriage and the children of that marriage, Cothran said. "HB 28 may benefit the biological father, but it would not benefit the married couple or the child involved."


Monday, February 2, 2009

NBC rejects pro-life Super Bowl Ad

NBC had to fill many of their ad spots on last night's Super Bowl with promotions for their own shows due to the economic downturn. The network rejected an ad from because of its pro-life nature. The network claimed that it would not run "advocacy" ads but were willing to run a PETA ad if that organization changed just a few of the sexually explicit images in the ad. Apparently NBC's airwaves are far from free--only selling the multi-million dollar ads to companies that they approve of and allowing Americans to see and hear messages that promote beer and sexually-suggestive websites.

Here is the ad that even the most hard-core pro-choicer would have a hard time opposing.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sanctity of Life Sunday vs. Emily's List

Today has been a study in contrasts for me. This Sunday started with a focus on the sanctity of Life in churches all across Kentucky and America, including my own church. Church members everywhere are mourning the extermination of 50 million unborn lives since Roe v. Wade.

Returning from church, I turned on CSPAN to find an Emily's List celebration of their aggresive political action to elect pro-abortion candidates. This election cycle has been quite a success for this 40 million dollar organzation with 75 employees. To be endorsed and financially backed by Emily's List a candidate must be 1. a woman 2. a democrat 3. radically pro-abortion. In fact two of their candidates lost support this year because they did not support partial-birth abortion.

Today's Sunday celebration by Emily's List loudly applauded several succesful elections and appointments for their pro-abortion women:
1. Ellen Moran- executive director for Emily's List- appointed by Obama as White House communications director
2. Hilary Clinton appointed by Obama as Secretary of State
3. Gov. Janet Napalitano appointed by Obama as Secretary of Homeland Security
4.Rep. Hilda Solis appointed by Obama as Secretary of Labor

These are just a few of the many pro-abortion candidates that the day was celebrating.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi kicked off the event with talk about the future for women and young girls.... What about the young girls that have been aborted--murdered?

Emily's List like to talk about getting women elected, but that is only if they subscribe to EL blood-thirsty ideology. EL worked to defeat Sen. Elizabeth Dole because she was pro-life and replace her with pro-abortion Kay Hagin- so this is clearly not about advancing the cause of women.

On this Sancitiy of Life Sunday, there are certainly two vastly different worldviews and unfortunately those moving into positions of the highest authority in the land were at today's Emily's List banquet- not at church for Sanctity of Life Sunday.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The "Millionaires' Bailout" on Channel 27

My appearance on WKYT's evening news on the Millionaire's Bailout.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

No one knows how much CATS costs, committee finds

Oh dear. While some of us were thinking that the problem with CATS was that it costs too much, all of a sudden we find out that that's not the problem. The problem is we don't know how much it costs. Turns out that our wonderful education bureaucrats have no idea how much the monstrous state education testing system is setting us back because of poor accounting.

All state auditors could determine is that it costs at least $18.6 million, a higher figure than has been reported before. But there is no way, given the state's poor accounting, to know the total cost of the tests because no figures are available to determine how much local school districts are spending, and amount that is likely to be very high.

"There isn't a mechanism to be able to determine the cost at the local level for the assessment testing," Brian Lykins, director of special audits in the auditor's office, told the Louisville Courier-Journal.

This comes at a bad time for supporters of the tests, since President of the Senate David Willliams has announced that he would like to see the test eliminated.

Stay tuned on this issue...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Turfway Park already counting its bailout money

The gambling moguls in northern Kentucky are already counting their part of The Millionaires' Bailout, according to Pat Crowley at the Cincinnati Enquirer. Turfway, a horse track in northern Kentucky is rubbing its hands together on account of Greg Stumbo's HB-158, which would bring mechanized slots to the Kentucky horse tracks.
Turfway Park would build a $150 million free-standing casino if legislation allowing video gambling in Kentucky passes the state General Assembly this year.
Now we're just thinking out loud here, but where do poor, needy gambling moguls, who according to advocates of HB-158, are looking at having to sell their Armani suits and Italian shoes for food getting $150 million?

But at least The Millionaire's Bailout is giving these people some hope. And that's something.