"Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity..." - Hunter S. Thompson (pbuh), 1973

Sunday, March 13, 2011

We're Broke! Quick - Blame Somebody!

Here in the Great Commonwealth of Kentucky, things aren't as green as the Bluegrass would have you believe...

For starters, the state is broke. Every bit of $1 billion in the red. Hence the furloughs that Frankfort is imposing on all state employees. One unpaid day a month for all state employees is somehow supposed to save TONS of cash.  I guess they forgot about the fact that all these employees are just waiting to use their sick time, vacation time, or whatever freebie time they have accrued.  So in essence, the money is still coming out of the treasury - from where in the treasury is a mystery.  I don't know about the rest of you, but when my bank account is empty and I OWE people, cash does not magically appear in my pockets.

So in any event, because Governor Beshear isn't having a successful run at selling his "Robbing-Peter-to-Pay-Paul" scheme:
The House and Senate had been in discussions for three days to try to reach an accord on Beshear's proposal to balance the Medicaid budget by using $166.5 million from next year's appropriation. Senate Republicans want across-the-board cuts to all government programs to fill the gap.
Beshear's proposal would not only shift funding from next fiscal year's budget to close this year's Medicaid budget gap but would also balance next year's budget with some $425 million in cost savings in the Medicaid program by entering into private contracts with managed-care organizations. Williams contends Beshear's plan won't work because he doesn't have time to enter into contracts with such organizations.

The GOP-controlled Senate has steadfastly rejected Beshear's proposal to fill the Medicaid gap. Instead, they have called for cuts of 1.58 percent to all government programs next fiscal year to transfer money into Medicaid.
He (Beshear) would rather lay blame at the feet of Senate President (and Republican) David Williams:

Beshear said Williams is putting thousands of jobs at risk at hospitals and clinics that provide medical care to the elderly, poor and disabled Kentuckians who rely on Medicaid.

"Sen. Williams has apparently declared and decided that he has better things to do," Beshear said. "Well, it is time to hold him accountable. It is time to remind him of the job he's been elected to do."

Hmm... Hold politicians accountable ? Remind them of why they were elected ?

That is a rather radical pair of notions.  Might it actually work?  Well...

Egypt protests: Key moments in unrest
Following more than two weeks of protests, Egypt's Hosni Mubarak has stepped down as president, ending three decades in power. What are the key events that led to this moment?
14 January: Tunisian president flees

Weeks of protests in Tunisia led to President Ben Ali fleeing the country

President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali steps down and flees the country following weeks of anti-government protests and clashes with police.

The protests there were inspired by the self-immolation of a frustrated unemployed young man, Mohammed Bouazizi, in December.

The toppling of Mr Ben Ali after 23 years in power help galvanise the current anti-government protests in Egypt.
25 January: Protests begin in Egypt

Thousands of people join protests in several Egyptian cities after an internet campaign.

Clashes break out in Cairo's Tahrir Square between riot police and protesters, who say they are fed up with high levels of poverty, corruption and unemployment. Some protesters say they will not give up until President Mubarak steps down.
28 January: Unrest spreads

The protests in Egypt continue
and gather momentum. President Mubarak declares a curfew in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez and the army is deployed. The curfew is immediately and widely flouted, and there are further clashes between protesters and police amid growing reports of looting and lawlessness.

There were two days of clashes around Tahrir Square between pro- and anti-Mubarak groups

After Friday prayers, tens of thousands of people join protests in Cairo and other cities to press the demand that Mr Mubarak step down.

The headquarters of the governing NDP party is set ablaze, while protesters also besiege the state broadcaster and the foreign ministry.

Late on Friday, President Mubarak sacks his cabinet. In a televised address, he says he understands the protesters' grievances but defends the actions of the security forces. At least 26 people are reported to have died since the unrest began.

President Barack Obama calls Mr Mubarak after his speech, telling him he must give meaning to his pledges to provide better economic and democratic opportunities to the Egyptian people.
29 January: Suleiman appointed vice-president

President Mubarak names intelligence chief Omar Suleiman as his first-ever vice-president

Clashes continue, with at least 74 people reported dead in the last two days.
31 January: Army rules out force

The army gives heart to the tens of thousands of protesters by saying it recognises the "legitimate rights of the people" and will not use force against them.

Vice-President Omar Suleiman says Mr Mubarak asked him to open dialogue with all political parties on constitutional reform.
1 February: 'March of a million'

Huge rallies take place in Cairo and other cities after protest leaders call for a "march of a million".

Protest leaders called for a "march of a million" people in Cairo - many answered

Journalists in Tahrir Square, the focus of the protests, estimate that hundreds of thousands of people have shown up - men, women and children from a broad spectrum of Egyptian society.

In another televised address, Mr Mubarak announces he will step down after September's presidential elections. He pledges constitutional reform but says he should stay in office to ensure an orderly transfer of power to his successor. Protest leaders call on the president to step down by Friday 4 February at the latest.
2 February: Army calls for protests to end

The army urges demonstrators to return to their homes, saying their message has been heard.

Brutal clashes break out between pro- and anti-Mubarak groups as supporters of the president make an organised attempt to enter Tahrir Square. Stones, metal bars and petrol bombs are pressed into service as running battles continue late into the night on the edges of the square.
3 February: Cairo clashes continue

Anti-government protesters clash with groups of government loyalists once again, 10 days since the mass protests began.
4 February: 'Day of departure'

Huge crowds again occupy Tahrir Square in what protest leaders hopefully call "day of departure" for President Mubarak. The army increases its presence and Mubarak supporters keep their distance, making for a peaceful rally after the last two days of violence.
5 February: Ruling party resignations

The leadership of the governing NDP resigns en masse, including Gamal Mubarak, the son of the president. Until Mr Suleiman was appointed vice-president, it was widely believed Gamal was being groomed as his father's successor.
10 February: Mubarak 'may step down'

Ruling party officials and military leaders make statements suggesting that President Mubarak will step down. But President Mubarak then surprises protesters by making a nationally televised speech in which he says he will stay in office until elections in September, though he will transfer some powers to his Vice-President Omar Suleiman.
11 February: Mubarak resigns

Shortly after nightfall on the 18th day of protests, Vice-President Omar Suleiman announces that Hosni Mubarak will step down, with immediate effect. The tens of thousands gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square greet the news with joy. Earlier, Mr Mubarak was reported to have flown to the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh with his family.
and Aviation Minister Ahmed Shafiq is appointed prime minister.
Perhaps Mr. Beshear should consider himself on notice, as well.  His actions (or lack thereof) also serve as a testament to the inefficiency and waste in Frankfort. 

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