Opinion: Kentucky tax breaks for Ark park with cuts in education a bad idea

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 9:06 AM | Contributed by Jeff

In one of the most spectacularly mis-prioritized state budgets in recent memory, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear (D), is suggesting over $50 million in cuts to education – while preserving $43 million in tax breaks for the Ark Encounter, a creationist amusement park centered around a life-sized Noah’s Ark. The park is sponsored by Answers In Genesis, a non-profit organization that promotes a “literalist” interpretation of the Book of Genesis while promoting an anti-evolution (and other sciences) agenda.

Read more from Forbes.

Thursday, February 2, 2012 7:16 PM

Energy industry publications that I have read recently indicate that the expectation in the industry is that the pipeline will be built in the US. They view the rejection issue as being one of political theater (on the part of both parties).

Thursday, February 2, 2012 8:24 PM

That makes no sense buck...we were just told both sides knew it was "bad." :) Based on...?

Last edited by Aamilj, Thursday, February 2, 2012 8:25 PM
Thursday, February 2, 2012 9:12 PM
OhioStater's avatar

If you don't see it, I'm not sure that you will.

As is, it was bad based on the facts...not the inflated, twisted "pseudo-facts" that emerged since the original proposal years ago. It became a political weapon for the GOP, and still is.

Let's keep it simple and deal with one variable; jobs.

The 20,000 job number is a fabrication, created only after it became apparent that it was not going to go through. The actual estimate is about 4,000 jobs...and that's a fact that came from TransCanada themselves...nearly all of which are temporary. They did not count on the massive amount of opposition, but being in league with other big-oil good ol' boys, they teamed up with the Grand Old Party and decided that the American public...so desperate for any good job news...would demand Obama back something so promising.

It sounds an awful lot like a script for a Star Wars prequel.

Hence, it becomes a weapon at just the right time. An election coming up, GOP ratings in the toilet (have you looked House approval numbers lately?)...all designed to make Obama look bad. In the end, it would appear that the GOP "compromised", standing firm for the American public, while all the while its Obama who is bad.

The truth is, the real "enemy" in this entire situation is TransCanada. They would profit, we would not, and in fact our own gas prices would have increased. That's what you want?

Again, if you don't see it, you don't, and that's OK.

The corporation is merely tugging at America's current topic of desperation, and I for one applaud Obama for calling the GOP's bluff.

You are 100% correct when you say this is all about politics. What I find amusing is that you do not see how intensely snared you have become in the whole mess. It's a con. A political carrot being dangled just to get everyone's panties in a bundle. Well, undecided voters' panties, anyway.

Last edited by OhioStater, Thursday, February 2, 2012 9:16 PM
Thursday, February 2, 2012 11:45 PM

Please, explain in what dimension would gas prices increase as a result?

Friday, February 3, 2012 8:22 AM
OhioStater's avatar

I would love to.

I'm actually chuckling a bit here, as I just stumbled on an article by...are you ready for it? Fox News...yes, THAT Fox News, explaining the "6 big reasons why this is bad".

Now I think this is about as fair as it gets. Point being, if Fox News says its bad....well...I'm not sure anyone would be convinced otherwise if this does not do it for you.

Your question, Cypress, is answered in number 2. These have been discussed, however, for years...it's just that people only recently began paying attention.

Here it is...(and I believe this is the first time I have ever linked to Fox News).

Friday, February 3, 2012 8:55 AM

Nice that you linked to the evil Fox News! However, did you notice the link was labeled "opinion" by Sally Kohn?

The idea that prices would rise in the midwest, is based on the tar sands oil not having any place else to go, therefore there is a glut of oil there. I'm not sure this even holds anymore, as a pipeline flowing north from Tx into Cushing was reversed recently to drain said glut. At any rate, it ignores 2 things:

1. If the midwest is oversupplied, meaning lower prices there, then the rest of the country/world is facing higher prices as this glut oil can't get out.

2. If this pipeline isn't built, the Canadians have already said they will build one to the sea to remove the oil that way.

I would like more info on this conspiracy among the right "that knows it's bad" but are manipulating the idiot people like me. Also, enlighten us on why a project that creates 4000 jobs is therefore bad?

Friday, February 3, 2012 11:15 AM

Citing Sally Kohn as Fox News seems a lot like citing Alan Colmes as Fox News. Sure he appeared on the network but as a liberal.

Friday, February 3, 2012 11:59 AM
rollergator's avatar

Alan Colmes appeared on Faux News as a liberal? News to me - I thought he just portrayed Sean Hannity's semi-human punching bag?

Friday, February 3, 2012 12:46 PM

Neither side is ever going to site a source that appeases. I personally think it is weak to dismiss a good argument no matter what the source. If you show me a sound article from MSNBC, I'll give it a chance. I might be skeptical, but I'll take it at face value.

The actual estimate is about 4,000 jobs...and that's a fact that came from TransCanada themselves...nearly all of which are temporary.

I've seen this argument a lot to discredit the project. How does this reconcile with the fact that Obama, and many republicans too, are all for "shovel-ready" infrastructure jobs? After-all, once the bridge is built...the job goes away. Since when did temporary jobs become bad? And what about refinery jobs? Are those temporary?

I'll stand by my opinion that this project is not going through because the extreme environmentalists threatened to pull support from the election. Obama was in a tough spot as a lot of unions were for it. He chose to take the environmentalists' side.

I'll grant that the Repubs...seeing Obama in a tight spot with his support (unions versus environmentalists) jumped in and politicized it worse by making him take a position NOW...instead of after the election as he preferred. But why wouldn't they? It was a grand chance to demonstrate that what Obama says in campaign speeches (energy independence, shovel-ready, etc) is empty rhetoric. You certainly don't hear him say "when it comes down to it, I'm for the extreme left wing of the green movement." But that is exactly who he was for in this decision. This pipeline is not being built because of the extreme views of the environmentalists. This will be a huge campaign issue as it will be difficult for Obama to defend...not that it matters with the clowns running against him (another argument).

Temporary versus permanent jobs is just a slight of hand argument to keep focus off of what happened here. The environmental studies passed. Nebraska agreed to reroute the pipeline. Three years of permits were issued. For your average run of the mill environmentalists...due diligence was completed...and there was no reason to block the project. Democrats and Republicans, in decent consensus, were for this project and every expectation was that this would go through without hitch...

Only AFTER those on the extreme left made pilgrimage to DC for their "circle protest" around the White House in November...did Obama and some democrats change their tune. Their tune was not changed because of legitimate concerns about the environment...the studies were already passed. Their tunes were not changed because they were worried about the temporary nature of the jobs. Their tune changed because they feared active environmentalists, who provide strong support and money to their re-election campaigns, would withhold support this time around. We know this, not because of Fox News or MSNBC tells us... We know this because we have common sense. The president and his supporters gave every indication that they were all for this project, and were even preparing themselves to take credit for it, until the protest. Only THEN, did their story change.

If you want to say both sides are playing politics...fine. But only one side had the power to stop the project. Only one side changed their position at the last minute. The republicans were consistently for the project and still are. Their only part in this process was to attach legislation to a bill and force Obama to take public action now.

How much anybody want to bet that after the election Obama changes his position again and tries to take credit for this project? It is EASY to predict that this is what will happen. We know this because we know that deep in his soul Obama is willing to let this happen. He can't now though...because he needs the support of the most extreme activists in the environmental movement...the one who protest, web blog, raise money, etc...for his re-election.

Friday, February 3, 2012 1:56 PM
OhioStater's avatar

He needs them to 1) redirect the pipeline, and 2) insure greater revenue/impact for the United States. From my understanding, the dismissal is to how the deal currently stands; not and end-all be-all door closed completely.

So I agree with GoBucks that it could eventually happen...just not as is...which was Obama's point...and that's the hand that was "forced"; to green light or not a deal that is currently not in our best interests.

Of course 4,000 jobs are good anywhere; and you can see why that is such a powerful leverage tool to use in our current climate; and you can bet they were hoping (TransCanada) that it would be enough.

Again, I do not see "Republicans" as the "bad guys" in this at all...they were manipulated by something stronger than any elected official; a corporation.

Like South Park said, blame Canada, not Obama.

Quarter of a million jobs added in January, without the Keystone pipeline. I'm of the mind that we're headed in the right direction. Long way to go? Yep.

Last edited by OhioStater, Friday, February 3, 2012 2:06 PM
Friday, February 3, 2012 3:32 PM

Look at the reasons in the "Fox" article.

One, energy independence has little significance when you are looking at a global commodity like oil. Even if we get all of our oil from friendly and stable countries, as long as anyone else in the world gets their oil from unfriendly or unstable countries, we are subject to the effects of interruptions in the flow of oil in those unfriendly/unstable areas. Even if we got 100% of our oil from the US, we still would have those issues (unless the government owned all of the oil, private companies would sell to the highest bidders). One way to help our energy dependence is to use less of it.

Two, I didn't see anything in her links which show that gasoline prices would increase. Maybe I missed it.

Three, so what if they overstated the jobs benefit? Historically, vast majority of projects do that. Does that make them all bad ideas as well? And its a private project so taxpayers aren't funding the costs.

Four, the current Keystone pipeline leaked. So do tankers on the water, train cars and trucks on the road. Should we ban all of those too? Wouldn't the better analysis (assuming you wanted to be objective anyway) be to look at leakage/spillage experience with pipelines compared with other modes of transportation?

Five, Keystone has already agreed to move the pipeline in Nebraska. So the acquifer issue really isn't there. In addition, although the linked article earlier in this thread which noted that there are pipelines already running across that aquifer (in and outside of Nebraska) was from an organization in favor of the pipeline, is there any info out there that disputes the existence of those pipelines (I couldn't find any). Seems to me that the existence of those pipelines would significantly undercut the argument that the acquifer is too important for oil pipelines. But even with thar argument, if the pipeline is moved around those areas, what is the issue with respect to the acquifer?

Six, Sally notes that even if the pipeline isn't built, the oil will be burned releasing carbon into the atmosphere. So how is global warming/cooling/climate change an issue that should block the pipeline? With or without the pipeline, the same amount of oil will be burned (in the US and globally). And without the pipeline, the oil will likely be moved by locomotives and everyone knows that trains never derail or leak and locomotives run on clean solar power, right?

Last edited by GoBucks89, Friday, February 3, 2012 3:34 PM
Friday, February 3, 2012 4:28 PM
rollergator's avatar

OhioStater said:
Again, I do not see "Republicans" as the "bad guys" in this at all...they were manipulated by something stronger than any elected official; a corporation.

But elected officials are people....and corporations are people. So by the transitive property, corporations are our elected officials. *giggle*

On a more serious note, when corporations have THIS much power, it would be against ROI theory for them not to wield that power in such a way as to ensure future profitability.....and influencing our political process seems to have proven to have greater ROI than any other "business venture" they could engage in.

Friday, February 3, 2012 5:45 PM

He needs them to 1) redirect the pipeline, and 2) insure greater revenue/impact for the United States. From my understanding, the dismissal is to how the deal currently stands; not and end-all be-all door closed completely.


We know that those two issues you quote are NOT legitimate reasons he nixed this project. Those are political justifications used AFTER the fact.

As stated earlier... The president and many democrats were for this project until the November 2011 "circle protest." Back in November the two issues you point to above were still there, but he was STILL FOR THE PROJECT.

He "changed his mind" after the protest because it was a political decision. We don't need Fox News or any source to use our common sense about the sequence of events.

If those two issues were legitimate Obama and Democrat concerns, they have had three years to oppose this project on that merit. But they did not. They supported it all the way until the protest.

Only after forced to make a politically unpopular decision do we see democrats and those who carry his water feigning concern about greater revenues, redirection, etc.

You are a smart guy and a good writer. You do an excellent job of conveying Democrat talking points. But there is no way that what you are selling here is truthful.

The truth is Obama is scared that the extreme left wing of the environmentalist movement will not support his re-election. That is the only reason this decision was made. You and others who support him may not be able to bring yourselves to admit this reality, but is is clear from the sequence of events that this is exactly what happened.

Knowing that admitting this truth to the American Public..."Hey...I'm hostage to the environmentalist extremists"...is political suicide... Obama and his supporters are finding reasons to justify such a silly decision that illuminates the glaring holes in his rhetoric. So they send supporters out to mitigate the political damage...knowing full well that a good percentage of the public will believe that...

  • He needs them to 1) redirect the pipeline, and 2) insure greater revenue/impact for the United States.

      • In a discussion on two threads, where we have found a decent amount of common ground, please don't burn a bridge by blowing democrat talking points up our asses. Just be honest and admit the political reality. Obama needs, or thinks he needs, the extreme environmentalists to assist him and other democrats in the 2012 elections. His attempt to appease these extremists is the reason that people are not already filling those "shovel-ready" jobs.

        P.S. I'm not trying to be a dick toward you. I'm as partisan as anybody. But lets understand the audience and try to cut through that crap.

    • Last edited by Aamilj, Friday, February 3, 2012 5:50 PM
      Friday, February 3, 2012 7:59 PM
      OhioStater's avatar

      See? Something else in common...I'm not trying to be a dick either. :)

      Far from it.

      The proof? I will readily admit that I honestly never knew that there was a time when Obama was actually for the project.

      My main reason for supporting Obama is that I honestly believe our country is healing from one of the two worst economic collapses just fine.

      I have some colleagues at the University of Nebraska who I have been talking about this with on and off the past few years, and I honestly believe this is not a good deal. But know where I am coming from; I don't trust big-oil even more than I don't trust politicians (both red and blue).

      That said, you may be surprised that I am in full support of fracking in Ohio. The recent earthquakes have me rather worried, however, that it will stall what I think could be a huge boom. Those are numbers I believe in, and I think natural gas could be the decades-long energy bridge we need to sustain us to the next major breakthrough (moving beyond oil, gas, etc...).

      Last edited by OhioStater, Friday, February 3, 2012 8:34 PM
      Friday, February 3, 2012 8:39 PM

      I think natural gas could be the decades-long energy bridge we need to sustain us to the next major breakthrough (moving beyond oil, gas, etc...).

      We agree on this. I think they should phase all government fleet vehicles to natural gas over the next 3-5 years. The automakers already have the models. It is clean and readily available. I'm shocked that more has not gone in that direction. But it goes back to demand. And in this case stations to fill the tank.

      Friday, February 3, 2012 8:46 PM
      OhioStater's avatar

      I'm not sure where you are from, but this has really divided people in NE Ohio. It's refreshing to find some common ground. I get a kick out of the back-and-forth banter, by the way. I'm sure there is plenty we would simply have to agree to disagree on.

      I believe there are some towns/cities in Ohio that have made such a transition with buses, etc.

      Friday, February 3, 2012 9:45 PM

      I also don't have a problem with fracking. My issue is with the chemical-laced, brackish wastewater that must be pumped out and treated, or else left in the ground below aquifers with the not-very-convincingly-substantiated claim that the stuff can't work its way into the groundwater supply. As long as the petroleum industry isn't allowed to externalize such costs onto the backs of residents living above these sites, I'm all for it.

      My author website: mgrantroberts.com

      Friday, February 3, 2012 10:14 PM
      OhioStater's avatar

      I'm going to have to look this up, but I went to some type of informative meeting here on campus, and we learned something about the underground of Ohio that is fundamentally different than say Pennsylvania, where they have had numerous issues. Again, I'm off to bathe the 4-month old, so this is off the top of my head, but it has something to do with Ohio shale, and the depth of our water supply vs. where they are drilling.

      Sorry for the vagueness.

      May the schwartz be with you.

      Friday, February 3, 2012 10:19 PM

      Big oil is typically the same/supporting the fracking folks.

      Not a tree hugger, but it seems to me more study about fracking wouldn't be a bad thing. The idea that pumping a bunch of chemicals deep into the ground won't cause any problems seems a little crazy to me. Same as sequestering carbon in the ground as electric utilities want to do.

      Monday, February 6, 2012 4:23 AM

      I'm all for expanded use of natural gas, but totally opposed to fracking (or rather the fracking process) as it stands now. Give the EPA total oversight over everything involved, including the list of chemicals used and close monitoring of them throughout and after the process, and I might come around a little bit. The fact that the industry got the Bush administration to completely ban the EPA from having any oversight into the process or chemicals tells me all I need to know about it.

      And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
      No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun


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