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Jim Waters

Edelen takes the farm for government transparency

Actor Ed Norton warned: “Fame is very corrosive and you have to guard very strictly against it.”

Unfortunately for Richie Farmer, star guard for the 1992 University of Kentucky Wildcats, a new report by State Auditor Adam Edelen indicates he did not guard very well against fame’s corrosive nature – at least not during his eight-year stint as the commonwealth’s agriculture commissioner.

Coal bashers between ‘black rock’ and a hard place

In “Catch-22,” author Joseph Heller reports that “Group Headquarters was alarmed, for there was no telling what people might find out once they felt free to ask whatever questions they wanted to.”

This had to be stopped, which Colonel Korn succeeds in doing by implementing a rule governing the asking of questions.

Needed: Constitutional, not situational, restraint

Ever since John Adams, America’s second president, tried to force individual states to deport some non-citizens and punish “seditious language” unfriendly to his administration, Washington has encroached upon individual states’ sovereign power.

Granted, Adams was doing his best to help a new nation that, literally, was in survival mode. Had the Pew Research Center existed during his time, it would have offered poll after lopsided poll expressing solid doubt about whether this fledgling experiment in representative republicanism would ever make it even to the 19th century.

What happens in coal country should stay in coal country

“What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” is meant to comfort those who commit big sins at Sin City’s gambling venues.

But I have a better one that’s more positive to Kentuckians: “What happens in Kentucky coal country stays in Kentucky coal country.”

Most already know that there are a lot of miners – and lots of jobs – that depend on the plentiful supply of black rock found within the commonwealth’s borders. But largely unknown – or unrealized – is how much of the coal mined here stays right here in our own state.

UK making some slam-dunk moves off the court, too

“We’re moving in the right direction” is a phrase oft-repeated in Frankfort.

But it’s not always used appropriately.

Senate Republicans did anything but on the recent methamphetamine legislation – committing a foul worse than anything we see during March Madness.

'Trust, but verify' saves lives, shrinks government

Transparency not only makes government smaller, less costly and more responsive to its constituents. It saves lives, too.

The downside: It can embarrass government agencies and the bureaucrats who run them.

But ask me if I care more about assisting efforts by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services – which is shut up tighter than a pair of vise grips – to save face or finding out what really happened to Amy Dye, a 9-year-old Western Kentucky girl.

Frogs and taxpayers in hot water

No doubt you’ve heard about the frog feeling pretty comfortable in a tank of cold water but ending up boiling to death as the heat is gradually turned up. 

There was no lid on top of the tank keeping the frog from jumping out. Yet he didn’t.  He stayed in the tank and literally overheated.

Why? Because he didn’t realize the danger he was in – at least not until it was too late.

The story may not be biologically accurate, but it works metaphorically to describe the plight of Kentucky’s budget and its taxpayers.

Cherry picking and charter schools

Charter school: An autonomous public school free of many of the regulations that hinder traditional public schools from offering a superior education.

National School Choice Week is Jan. 22-28.

There’s little to celebrate in Kentucky – one of only nine states without a charter-school law.

Nanny State 'can't get no satisfaction'

“Where do you draw the line?”

Rep. Mike Harmon, R-Danville, posed that question to statewide smoking-ban proponents on KET’s final “Kentucky Tonight” show of the year.

It’s the right question. It’s also one that those who baptize themselves in waters of government nanny-ism have little interest in discussing.

Harmon pressed the issue with activist Betsy Janes, who’s employed by the American Lung Association and who lacks aversion to any proposed government regulation deemed as “protecting our health.”

Redistricting ruling offers collateral benefits for voters, taxpayers

Slowing down Frankfort’s redistricting march offers collateral benefits for voters and taxpayers.

For one, Judge Philip Shepherd’s restraining order on January’s final day to consider House Republicans’ claims that the Democratic-friendly plan for new legislative boundaries is unconstitutional pushed back the filing deadline for potential candidates by at least a week.

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