Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): September 2013

Monday, September 30, 2013

Obamacare, the pending shutdown and stuff I am so sick of...

Shut It Down.

I don't even know why we're continuing to have this conversation. And yet, on the right we're parsing hairs on who will get blamed if a handful of bureaucrats has to be furloughed for half a second. Sorry, bureaucrats, I stopped caring about you approximately 10 years ago, and no amount of your whining is likely to change that.

I don't want to seem unsympathetic, but really. I am. Other than the military, you've lost me. You've absolutely lost me. So, the IRS is going to have to take a break from anal probing conservative organizations? I'm not going to lose one second of sleep over it. Not.a.single.second. I realize that IRS agents have families and obligations, but get in line. So does everyone else in America, and we fund your paychecks. We're broke. So if nothing else, the government shutdown will save us a few bucks. 

I've also had quite enough of the Republicans arguing about who is going to get the blame or credit for the government shutdown. I seriously can't believe these people. Rome is on fire, and you're arguing about whether the fat lady's singing should be in the key of A or G. How about you grab a hose instead, you Congressional bozos?

National Review's Jim Geraghty, who I typically adore, wrote a rambling e-letter today scourging those who would shut 'er down. He wrote:

Let's say the government shutdown goes on for a week. Then what? Is the Republican leverage strengthened? Is the Obama administration's position weakened? Is the calculation that Obama will accept a delay in the individual mandate after some period of tear-jerking coverage of military families? Two weeks? A month? How does the means (the shutdown) get us to the ends (stopping Obamacare)?
Is it that a shutdown is good strategy because "it shows the Tea Party that Congressional Republicans are willing to stand and fight"? How much are you willing to bet on 218 House Republicans sticking together as the shutdown goes on?
I get that there are many in Congress and in conservative pundit land worried about the long game. I get it. Really I do. There's a lot that patience and time can solve, but let me assure you, one of them is NOT Obamacare.

Once its implemented, there goes the country, or at least the one we knew. Buh-bye freedom. Hello, brownshirts. Want to smoke a cigarette? The IRS will be on your doorstep demanding additional payment, despite the exorbitant fees already placed on cigarettes at the original point of sale. Fees, I note, that are supposed to help fund healthcare, but whatever. Want to eat a low-carb, high fat diet? Sorry. That's going to cost you extra, because Michelle Obama has decreed that the appropriate diet for every.single.American is a low-fat, high carb diet. The IRS may come to your doorstep and replace your full-fat cream with skim milk. You'll pay a penalty for that, of course. (Meanwhile, Obamacare actually encourages behavior that we know is medically risky. You no longer have to pay for birth control pills, but we all get to pay extra for your regular Penicillin treatments. That gonorrhea isn't going to treat itself.) 

If it's not painfully obvious to you already, I am in a pretty much constant state of anger about the state of our government. My severe irritation is not limited to just the federal government. I feel generally enraged at the state government, the county government, the city government, school boards. Basically, if there's a bureaucrat or a politician involved, I'm frustrated.

And I've had enough of the discussion. Obamacare is bad for the country,  Republicans. Really, really bad. You can do the right thing, which involves standing your ground until this horrible legislation is overturned, or you can plot and worry about future blame.  Do the right thing. It really shouldn't be that difficult.

When the flames of America are doused and there's absolutely nothing left, no one who is put into a socialist re-education camp is going to give one single care about who started the fire.  

Final note: The Kansas Republicans are voting correctly. I am especially pleased with the votes of Sens. Moran and Roberts. Kansas is one of only two states in which both Senators voted against the Senate's stupid continuing resolution that restored Obamacare funding.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Mind blown -- 6 Myths about public education debunked

I'm mostly linking to this here, so I can find it later. 

The article, "Six Lies Most People Believe About U.S. Schools," from The Federalist is pretty mind-blowing. (Well, not to those of us who are fans of critical thinking, but to, you know, the navel-gazing general public).

You should really click on the link and read the whole thing, but, here are the 6 myths debunked:

1. America’s rich, suburban schools are high quality

2. Poverty is the root of America's education problem

3. Schools should teach generic skills like "critical thinking"

4. Teachers are well prepared professionals

5. Education is non-partisan and amoral (Anyone who believes this one has obviously not visited a public school on Earth Day.)

6. Practically everyone should go to college



Thursday, September 26, 2013

RINO v Kobach

No need for a jury in this case. Secretary of State Kris Kobach is going to mop the floor with Jean Schodorf.

Schodorf left the Republican Party in 2012. Well, she didn't leave so much as she was thrown out of office. The former Republican state senator lost a primary election to a more conservative challenger in 2012 and promptly exited stage left from the GOP and announced she was changing her party affiliation less than a month later.

I'm pretty sure the vast majority of the Kansas populace breathed a collective sigh and said, good riddance.

But this bitter pill isn't going down easy. She's decided to challenge Kobach in what's sure to be a walloping beat down. 

By the way, while Schodorf is calling herself a Democrat these days, she still calls herself a Republican when it suits her. She is a member of the RINO Party, also known as the Traditional Republicans for Common Sense.

Blech. I anticipate a nasty, ugly fight, because no one inflames the left like the camera-ready, smooth-talking conservative Kris Kobach. There will be blood in the ring following the match, but unfortunately for Schodorf, the vast majority of it will be hers.

She plans to formally file for election on Oct. 11, but she may not even make it out of the Democratic primary. There is already a Democrat in the race, Mission Hills businessman Randy Rolston. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

University of Kansas hates your children, conservatives

So the University of Kansas hates your children, especially if they're home schooled, have ever been taught to shoot a gun, and/or Christian. Other interesting and shocking facts: Water is wet. The sky is blue. Kathleen Sebelius is evil.

So it was without any surprise whatsoever that we learned there is a journalism professor at the William Allen White School of Journalism wishing death upon the children of NRA members. 

Specifically, David Guth, who teaches journalism ethics among other things tweeted: "#NavyYardShooting The blood is on the hands of the #NRA. Next time, let it be YOUR sons and daughters. Shame on you. May God damn you."

I'm mildly offended by the tweet, but probably not for the reasons most people are. 

First, this guy is a college professor. Surely serving in academia at a well-respected institution like KU requires the ability to use logic and reason. How does Guth know that none of the men and women killed in the Navy Yard shooting weren't the sons and/or daughters of NRA members? Many in the U.S. Armed Forces are gun rights supporters. I haven't done any research to back this up -- other than knowing dozens, no, hundreds of former and current service members. I can think of only one of the many who isn't an avid supporter of the Second Amendment. Many belong to the NRA. I'm not going to presume to say that there were sons/daughters of NRA members killed in the Navy Yard shooting, but I think it's foolish to rule out the possibility.

And if, by chance, some of the victims were the children of NRA members or gasp, members themselves, did they deserve to be gunned down? I would answer no.

So Guth lacked the ability to use sound judgment -- not just in the sending of the tweet itself, but he lacked the ability to use logic based on its content as well. 

Secondly, I'm offended that he's a journalism professor. Journalists rank right up there with lawyers and Congress people (in the rare instances in which there's a difference between the two) but they do have a code of ethics that says something about being impartial. If Guth is teaching that in his ethics class, he certainly isn't practicing it. 

I was also pretty disgusted with Guth's response when his tweet first came to light. He refused to admit he'd said anything wrong. 

Look, we all say stupid things when our emotions are running high. It's called being human. Nothing wrong with that. But when you do something bone headed -- especially when you're in a position like he is -- you apologize. I don't think the reaction would have been nearly as severe had he said something like, "Look. I think we need to rethink our gun laws. I shouldn't have said what I said, however." Those words from him in the earliest moments kill the controversy.

Finally, I'm a little icked out by the response from Second Amendment supporters, although I have very mixed feelings. As much as I adore the Second Amendment, I am a huge advocate of the First Amendment, too. Before you jump all over me to explain that the First Amendment prohibits government from limiting speech, I get it. The response of which I speak is that of Kansas legislators publicly threatening to remove funding from KU for Guth's words.

The idea of it makes me uneasy. For example, Sen. Greg Smith said in a statement: "As long as Professor Guth remains employed by the University of Kansas, I will no longer recommend the university as an institution worthy of attendance by any of my students;" That is a very appropriate and reasonable response, and any parent considering sending their child to KU should carefully consider how impressionable their child is before sending him or her to Lawrence. If they aren't able to listen to continual, non-stop liberal craziness without being brainwashed, I'd send them elsewhere.

However, Smith lost me when he continued: "Nor, as a state senator, will I support any budget proposals or recommendations for the University of Kansas."

This is the sort of thing that just makes me bonkers about politics in general. Politicians should not use the power of the purse strings to dictate speech. It's chilling, because should liberals ever again gain power in Kansas, we don't want this instance of the threat of pulling funding to become common place.

That said, everyone with half a brain recognizes that without the strong stance of powerful people like Smith, KU would have probably done absolutely nothing about Professor Guth's damaging tweet. (In fact, without the legislative uproar, they'd probably develop some sort of honor or award for him. The David Guth Truth and Courage Award,  or some such nonsense, because have you been on a college campus lately? The liberals there are off-the-reservation cray-cray.) Everyone understands that had a KU professor said something even remotely supportive of say, traditional marriage, that professor would have been thrown off campus, publicly shamed, and probably never work in academia again. The double standard in academia is troubling.

Should David Guth lose his job? I can't say. Maybe, other than this one instance, he's been a model professor creating the brightest and best future journalists ever to grace the halls of the Dole Human Development Center. To me, this is a personnel issue.

Should Guth have been reprimanded by the KU administration? Absolutely, but the fact that it was done after the fact makes the admonishment seem hollow.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Guess Who's Back?

I can't figure out why anyone continues to give this bunch of political has-beens press. Like a bad sequel, the Traditional Republicans for Common Sense (RINOs) are back again. 

I really detest their name. Whenever a liberal starts talking about "common sense" they mean anything but. These are people who believe that law-abiding people like me owning a gun are a danger. They believe that every problem in the world can be solved by government intervention and absconding money from the huddled masses. They believe, despite evidence to the contrary, that global warming and evolution are a FACT and no one should be allowed to ask questions or do research if it may upend their little beliefs. These are people who think "common sense" is what someone else told them. To them, "common sense" is the exact opposite of critical thinking. It's kind of gross and pathetic, but I digress.

Traditional Republicans for Common Sense
You'll note that the group, comprised mainly of whiny losers, sounds suspiciously like a herd of rhinoceroses thundering across the Kansas plains. It's a relatively small herd, but they make a lot of noise.

I wrote about the group last October. I don't even remember what they were whining about then. Anyway, they're in the news again here, complaining that the Republican Party was "hijacked."

And by 'hijacked,' they mean that many of their members were thrown out of office on their asses, not by violent overthrow but by Kansas voters. I guess the official position of the TRCS is, How Dare They?

Lucky for them, I can explain, how dare, we the voters, throw you out on your collective rears: The third world called. They want their philosophy back.

Among the rank and file of the TRCS are former Republican Senators Steve Morris, Terrie Huntington, Jean Schodorf, and Tim Owens. They lost fair and square in primary elections last year, but they somehow think they're entitled to retain their power.

I hate to break it to them, but that's not how it works here in the U.S.A. If you peddle tired ideas, the voters may get tired of you. That's what happened. It wasn't a hijacking. Circa summer 2012, they became irrelevant -- just like the policies they were pimping.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Mystery Deepens (Or not)

Now that we know which Kansas Democrat will be walking the plank as gubernatorial candidate, only one question remains. No, the question isn't: Will it be close? Or who will win? No, the question is who will follow Paul Davis into the water?

Jill Docking
I give you Jill Docking. Docking served on the Kansas Board of Regents and has experience in getting a Sam Brownback beat down. She ran against Brownback for U.S. Senate in 1996, and it turned out a lot like I anticipate Kansas Governor Race 2014 will -- with a Brownback win.

Steve Kraske name-dropped Docking in a brief piece in yesterday's Kansas City Star. Speaking of the Star, please do check out the cute, wishful thinking Yael Abouhalkah. He thinks Davis (and Docking??) vs. Brownback/Colyer will be an interesting race. Liberals are so cute when they're hopeful.

By the way, Docking runs a blog. I'd check it out now, before she is named as co-captain of Team Losing. It'll be gone when that happens.

Border War borders on stupid

Well, actually it doesn't border on stupid. It's actually stupid.

It's a moving tally, but Kansas has "stolen" thousands of jobs from Missouri this year. And Missouri has followed suit by "stealing" thousands of jobs from Kansas. By stealing, I mean each state is paying companies millions of dollars over the course of several years to move a few miles across the state line. 

Examples: Kansas provided $40-some million in incentives to AMC Theatres to move from Kansas City, Mo., to Leawood. Not to be outdone, Missouri offered Freightquote $7 million, plus an undetermined amount of payroll tax deductions likely worth even more, to move from Lenexa to Kansas City. 

Wash. Rinse. Repeat. To the tune of more than $150 million in tax incentives this year alone.

Kansas has given away $132 million in incentives to "create" 3,109 jobs in Kansas. Meanwhile, Missouri has offered $60 million in subsidies to move 2,514 jobs across the state line. 

So far, Kansas is winning, but the win feels kind of empty from this end. Kansas paid approximately $323,000 extra per job for the additional 595 jobs.

And, let's not forget -- these aren't new jobs. There was no great, big job fair to fill new positions. It's just these company's existing employees now travel to a different location for work. 

The fact that we're playing this game is mind boggling. Personally, I can't imagine any business choosing to locate in KCMO given a realistic opportunity to NOT be located there. In KCMO, employees pay a city income tax; the schools are garbage and you're likely to get shot if you stay in town after the sun goes down. Unfortunately, that's not the sell-job Kansas officials are doing when they lure businesses from KCMO to Johnson County. Despite pretty obvious benefits of doing business here as opposed to there -- no city sales tax, good schools, more educated workforce, etc. -- Kansas officials wad up their panties and throw them at existing Missouri businesses, and as the panties suggest -- everything is on the table. Limited or no property taxes? Check. State income payroll tax deductions? OK. Getting to keep your sales tax (TIF)? Sounds good. And so Missouri gives as well as it gets and offers the same and/or more.

Meanwhile, the regular, old citizens who have no designs on building a strip mall or sparkling office building (that will likely one day sit empty when the incentives run out) are stuck subsidizing the bill. New buildings and employees require infrastructure -- streets due to new traffic; sewers for you know, human waste. That stuff isn't free. Someone has to pay it, and it's you, simpleton taxpayer. 

So pardon me if I don't do a happy dance when I learn we're "winning" the Border War. It kind of feels like a loss.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

If Kansas is Number 1...

If Kansas is numero uno,what kind of dictatorial hell hole is the rest of the country living in?

That sounds a teensy bit harsh, I guess. But I was flabbergasted to learn that Kansas tops the list of personal property rights freedom in the 50 states. 

Do you know the hell people go through in Johnson County to rezone property? To get permission to divide land? To get a building permit approved? Our local governing bodies -- including planning commissions, zoning boards, city councils and the board of county commissioners -- stop just short of requiring a live lung donation. It's abominable. I'm not kidding. 

At least in Johnson County, the processes to rezone, get a building permit, divide land is awful. You'll need lawyers, engineers and a bevy of professionals to argue your case. You will miss work. You will probably spend half your life savings, all the while, knowing that at any step in the process some bureaucrat could pull the plug based on the height of a proposed sign. Or, a governing body -- a planning commission, a zoning board, a city council or the county commission -- could decide your plans for property you own aren't good enough. It would be better suited as a hotel or a highway or as a park. So what if it may be 20 years before that happens? The bureaucrats and public body members can't take the risk that your plan for your property might limit the amount of tax money they can squander from you in the form of future property taxes. In some communities -- and I don't mean Home Owners Associations -- I mean in some municipalities, there are rules about what color homeowners can paint their houses. There's a reason almost every home in Johnson County is "Johnson County beige."

And don't get me started on the smoking ban. No, I'm not a smoker. And I don't really like being around it, but it takes a lot of hubris for a governing entity -- yeah, that's you state of Kansas -- to tell a property owner what legal activities they can allow in their own establishments.

The survey, it appears, takes into consideration things like eminent domain processes and land-use regulations. It also considers things like local rent control laws. That's a very limited list, but it's still extensive enough that the final results have me scratching my head.

So, color me super surprised to learn that Kansas tops nation where personal property rights are concerned. What sort of dictatorial hell holes is everyone else living in? I don't even want to know.

Seppuku -- Paul Davis style

To the surprise of well, no one, Rep. Paul Davis has officially announced his intention to run for Governor.

I know the suspense was just slaying so many of you. (Or not, because I told you so several months ago.)

And a scarce three weeks after I told you so, the Huffpo said Brownback might lose moderate Republicans to Davis.  You'll note, that even the guy writing his pieces from New Jersey via Twitter recognizes that Davis doesn't have a chance.

I, for one, admire Davis' tenacity. He's going to lose. Actually, he's going to get slaughtered. It's not even going to be kind of close -- or Kansas close -- it's going to be Mondale vs. Reagan circa 1984. 

Davis may win Lawrence, and a few people in Johnson County, Sedgwick and Wyandotte may have mercy on him, but the people in western Kansas (and by western, I mean everything west of Topeka) are going to laugh him off the stage. Repeatedly. And in ways that are going to make even hardened politicos uncomfortable.

I really feel for him. I don't understand why the Democrats can't just run some sort of write-in campaign or hire some rich donor from California to come in here and carpet bag. Davis is putting what teeny tiny bit of political capital he may have, and going all in knowing the highest card in his hand is a '4.' 

Davis chose to make his announcement via social media, where I'm sure it reached tens of people. Anyway, his official reason for falling on his swords for the Dems? He wants to "put Kansas back on track." By that, I'm pretty sure he means robbing hard working Kansans to bulk up the local indoctrination camps, erm. I mean public schools.

I'm much more likely to be struck by lighting while delivering octuplets than Paul Davis is to make Sam Brownback a one-termer.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Le sigh. Roberts vs. Guy Related to Another Politician

Word on the street, and in the Huffington Post: Milton Wolf will take on Sen. Pat Roberts next year. The duo will vie for the U.S. Senate seat that Roberts has held since before I entered grade school.

Everything about this story makes me feel all sick and queasy inside.

 I'm not even sure where to start with this so I'll just dive right in. Pardon the flighty nature of this post. It's Monday, and (see above) I'm fighting nausea. 

First, why is the Huffington Post breaking this story? (Maybe it ran somewhere else, but I read it on the Huff Post first.)

There are dozens of newspapers and media in Kansas and not one of them, like say, the Hays Daily News or the Dodge City Globe got this story first? Roberts was once the editor of the Globe. Shouldn't they be slobbering all over any Roberts-related news? Don't they have a reporter on Roberts like full-time. (That's rhetorical. Of course they don't. Newspapers are dying and they probably don't have a single full-time reporter left, let alone one devoted to all things the Singing Comedian Senator from Kansas.)

And what about the news media on the eastern end of the state? Wolf is from Johnson County, I think. Shouldn't he have called KSHB or Fox 4 News or something? I don't know. I don't like having the liberal Huffington Post breaking news in my backyard. It's icky and speaks to federalization or the centralization of everything and I don't like it.

OK. The politics of it all.

Milton Wolf, for those who don't know (and why would you?), is the second cousin twice removed of President Barack Obama. 

That's his claim to fame. I don't think the pair ever met before Obama was running for president, so it's hardly as if the two played in the sandbox or waited together for Santa's arrival on Christmas Eve. Apparently, all that's necessary in politics these days is a connection to someone political via ancestry.com. 

Setting that aside (for now), Wolf is a conservative who cut his teeth as a surgeon who opposed Obamacare. I can get behind that, although being the cousin of some guy shouldn't be the line on the resume that gets you noticed. But whatevs. That's where we are. I'm sure if I got on ancestry right now and discovered I'm a distant relative of the Kardashians, I'd be given my own talk show. So...

As soon as Wolf announced his quasi-intention, Republicans of all stripes started falling all over themselves to pledge their undying love for Roberts. For starters -- there's Rep. J.R. Claeys (the Huffpo's go-to source) slobbering all over Roberts in the story.

Claeys is quoted: "Pat Roberts has represented me and my family since I was two years old, and I don't see that changing anytime soon. Pat Roberts is not only an excellent representative of the people of Kansas, he is one of us. His history shows that he represents the people, the ideology. Frankly, he is beloved in Kansas."

Just so you all know, I had to clean up vomit under my desk after reading that quote.

"Beloved?" That's a bridge too far. 

I guess I can't speak for all Kansans (ahem. Neither can Claeys.) But, speaking for myself, I do not "love" or "belove" Roberts. He's tolerable. He seems like a nice enough guy. But it isn't like he's doing the Lord's work in Washington. He's going along to get along and doing the bare minimum required to retain re-election. I mean, good on him, but we can do better.

Our country deserves better than life-long politicians who refuse to give up the throne. And make no mistake: That's what's happening here. Roberts has been in Washington too long. He hasn't lived in Kansas since before I was born, and I am no spring chicken. He's lived in Washington. I actually take offense to the suggestion that he's a Kansan. If you don't think the filth of Washington washes off onto the people who live there, you  haven't met many of them. That's not being mean. That's just the truth. The elitism oozes from their very pores, and that's not just from the pores of Congressman and public officials. Spend a few days with anyone who was as staffer there for more than five years. I dare you. (Aside: Ironically, Roberts is one of the few people who has local staff members that appear to be actual regular people. His staff includes a small number of people who don't wear power suits, actually talk to the "little" people and aren't all under the age of 30. So he has that going for him.)

So, every single one of Kansas' Congressional delegation is fawning all over Roberts and making public statements of support for his re-election. I don't think for one second that it's due to their undying love for Roberts. It's that in Kansas politics, we have a certain way that we do things. (Actually, this is true of Republicans in general). And that way is simply: Wait Your Turn. (See John McCain/Mitt Romney nominations for GOP presidential candidate. Better yet, see Bob Dole's nomination circa 1996. New GOP Slogan: We.Never.Learn.)

Kansas' delegation (and party loyalists) believe that when Roberts decides to leave Washington, whoever is "next" in line should have Roberts' seat. 

That could be Congress woman Lynn Jenkins, now the senior member of our state's Congressional delegation. Or it could be Todd Tiarht, whose supporters will argue should have been the one to take Brownback's Senate seat. But Moran stepped out of line and "stole" it. The party activists will have to sort it out, and no matter what happens, there will be a nasty blood bath when Roberts decides to step aside.

I'll be honest. I'm going to do what I do every election and take a few shots (whiskey? vodka? 'Twill depend on my mood.) before I head to the polls next November. Without a doubt, I'll be voting for the lesser of two sub par candidates who I probably wouldn't vote to represent me on the local sandwich shop board. That's certainly the case between Roberts and Wolf.

My perfect candidate is a down-to-earth person who didn't start running for political office the day they entered pre-school. (Yeah, I'm talking to you, Sam Brownback, Kevin Yoder, and Mike Pompeo). They earned their way into the spotlight based on more than their last name (Ahem. Kathleen Sebelius. Milton Wolf.) Unfortunately, those folks are few and far between, and most of them decide to use their talents for good -- not for evil, like politics. 

All of that said, if given the option to vote for someone that isn't Pat Roberts, I'll probably take it. So Wolf would theoretically score at least one vote. So there's that.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

It was summer. I was busy

But now I'm back. I got a virulent monkey off my back. (Not drugs. A major deadline that COULD NOT BE MISSED).

Long story longer, the blog is about to kick into high gear. Well, at least out of neutral and into drive.

• I am sad I missed the opportunity to comment (when it was relevant) on the Caleb Stegall appointment. He's fine. But let's not kid ourselves: That was an uber-political appointment.

Rumor has it there were more highly qualified conservative candidates available for the role, but politicians gotta politic, and being a hired member of Team Brownback has its longtime rewards.

• I also missed most of the controversy about the special legislative session. Those loveable Dems -- always finding a moment to drum up irritation even when none is warranted.

You'll note that the Hard 50 legislation passed overwhelmingly.

I never really believe politicians when they talk about urgency. I've taken classes on negotiating, and I know that the best way to get the deal you want is to make it seem like what you're offering is a limited time deal.  But the massive support for the law change leads me to believe there may have been some necessity to change it when they did.

• Finally, I've arrived back on the scene just as the Kansas 2014 campaign begins to heat up. Yes, I've received the calls from the Brownback campaign to assist. Yes, I've been invited to fundraisers. I just can't bring myself to do either when the Democrats' chance to succeed in Kansas in 2014 is roughly the same odds of me winning the lottery. My time and money will be better spent in Missouri, where conservatives might have a teeny-tiny chance to win additional seats and offices.