Ayn Rand's new disciples ignorant charlatans
Thank you, Joel Pett, for pointing out the hypocrisy of the newest Ayn Rand trumpeters — those using her name to support their economic agenda without pointing out that Rand despised religion and would consider a good portion of their base morally weak and downright dangerous.
Rand had plenty to say about religion, all bad, so it's difficult to imagine her even speaking to, let alone supporting, such intellectual charlatans. She dealt with reason, not propaganda. Lest we risk contaminating modern politics with intelligence or reason, I suggest that we let our dead intellectuals (the only ones we apparently have) rest in obscurity. I fully appreciate that just verbalizing the name of someone mentioned in a college textbook (Einstein, Marx, Jefferson, etc.) immediately bolsters lackluster credibility, but every time you do it you increase the likelihood that someone might notice the fact that almost anyone quoted or printed in the past was more intelligent than almost everyone quoted today, and if, or when, you do finally realize this fact, heavy doses of anti-depressants will be the only doctor-approved option for you. Rand would be as confused by today's corporate-sponsored, and religiously sanctioned, "free market" as everyone else, so leave her be.
I suggest that we ceremoniously name a mountain after her, then immediately level the thing (for coal, of course) before anyone figures out why and actually reads what she said.
Taxes never stop
We have those in Washington and Frankfort who know nothing but tax and spend, much like our out-of-control school board, which feels that the property owner has unlimited resources. Now some want to allow the local community to be able to levy a sales tax. But since there are never enough taxes, rest assured others would follow.
The sales tax for Rupp would only be the tip of the iceberg, quickly followed by a restaurant tax for tourism, an entertainment tax for a new cultural center, a bar tax to combat DUI, a tire tax to keep our roads paved, get my drift? The average citizen has to live within their means, just a shame those in government never will learn this.
Romney's trip revealing
Mitt Romney's tour to embellish his image overseas certainly helped voters back home. Romney reminds me of the hard sale a mother does to convince her daughter to go out with him. "He's good looking and has lots of money." "True," the daughter answers, "but he lacks one important thing, Ethics. Trust me, I know what his intentions are."
Romney's visit to Poland and reception by Lech Walesa was truly a "lost in translation" experience. Walesa was the antithesis of Romney's business success. His strong leadership with the Solidarity trade union workers against the brutal oppression of Polish business interests also won him a Nobel Peace Prize.
When a journalist dared ask Romney a question, an aide answered "kiss my ass!" then clarified it, saying, "This is a holy place." Any Catholic could tell him, when you are standing in a holy place, experiencing a holy act of arrogant imperialism, the proper answer is "kiss my ring, dude."
Was Romney's real interest in visiting Poland to check out their feelings about vulture capitalism and offshore tax shelters? Why does a man who wants to be president of the United States keep his money in hundreds of offshore tax havens? The fact that he is cheap is one thing, but does Romney know something about our banking system that we do not?
What was not lost in translation: When Republicans tell us "no" we understand what they are really telling us.
Release pension figures
Transparency is the watchword of politicians today. How about a little more transparency from our state and local governments?
The big, dark secret emanating from Frankfort is how much former state employees and politicians are receiving in taxpayer-funded pensions. The total pension debt is $34,000,000,000 (that's billion, folks). But we have no idea how much is currently being paid to individuals.
State salaries are public because the taxpayers have a right to know where their money is going. For example, you can go online and learn how much University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto is being paid along with any other UK employee.
You can also learn how much Mayor Jim Gray and the Urban County Government employees are being paid. Shouldn't we know how much retirees from the state and municipal governments are being paid?
No law prohibits the release of this information. It is simply the policy of past and current officeholders not to provide it. Now that we know that pension liabilities have caused several cities to file bankruptcy and that Kentucky and LFUCG are facing a similar fate, it is time to change that policy.
In Oregon, taxpayers forced their state to reveal pensions and found that two former public school administrators were receiving pension checks in excess of $20,000 a month. That may explain why Kentucky politicians don't want you to know how fat their pensions are. That may also partially explain why public pension plans are threatening to overwhelm state and local budgets.
In Kentucky, the Medicare and Medicaid programs provide over 1.5 million of our friends and neighbors with essential health coverage. Unfortunately, these programs are always on the chopping block, and this year is no different.
What is different is that Kentucky has the chance to expand coverage for pennies on the dollar. The Medicaid expansion in the Affordable Care Act allows Kentucky to cover more than a quarter million residents under a special funding stream through which the federal government will pay for more than 96 percent of the cost.
This is a great day to remember how many lives have been saved by Medicare and Medicaid. It is also a great day to move these programs forward and protect more Kentuckians.