Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): December 2013

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Gossip, Innuendo and Health Insurance

So here's the latest bit of information being circulated:

John Toplikar may run for Kansas Insurance Commissioner.

Toplikar currently sits on the Johnson County Board of Commissioners. He served in the Kansas House for a number of years. He's is probably most widely-known for a sign-stealing incident. (He may have been set up. I've written about it before here.)

If he throws his hat into the ring, Toplikar faces a crowded field in the Republican primary. There are at least three (Google tells me there are four) other candidates, of which I know virtually nothing. Toplikar's biggest advantage may be that he resides in one of the population centers of the state. He has name recognition in Johnson County.

1. Beverly Gossage. She is also from Johnson County, I think, and is an insurance agent, I think.

2. Ken Selzer. I don't know anything about him. According to his Facebook page, he went to University of Southern California. (This is the kind of thing -- being from California -- that is a strike against him. That's probably not fair, but if he actually grew up in southern California, I don't know how he could escape without some of their wonky values.)

3. David Powell. He's run for insurance commissioner before. I think his bumper stickers and signs were yellow.

4. Rep. Clark Shultz. I think he's from McPherson-ish area. 

It's important to note that before this insurance commissioner free-for-all, the GOP insiders fully expected Aaron Jack to file and win the statewide office. Jack was the Kansas Securities Commissioner. He was caught with his pants down, err, caught sending letters, err, caught doing stuff that doesn't make a lick of sense, and summarily fired from his job at KS securities. That pile of mental-instability probably flamed his chances at a future in politics, although I say that knowing that Eliot Spitzer and Carlos Danger attempted to re-enter public life, so who knows.

The current insurance commissioner is Sandy Praeger. She's a "Republican," but you can't tell by talking to her. She's Kathleen Sebelius' BFF. She thinks ObamaCare is awesome. She can't be ushered out the door fast enough. She's is the closest thing to a Democrat in statewide office in Kansas. Democrats have yet to field a candidate to replace her.

Most Kansans have absolutely NO idea what the insurance commissioner does. You can count me among that number. I think she goes around and talks to people about insurance. She probably has other responsibilities. 

Long story short: The race for Kansas Insurance Commissioner is wide, wide open. It's anyone's game. 



Monday, December 30, 2013

Montgomery replacement convention scheduled

Time is running out on Bob Montgomery's legislative career -- or at least this portion of it.

Rep. Montgomery sent a letter of resignation to Secretary of State Kris Kobach on Dec. 17. Committee precinct committee men and women of the 15th District, which includes west Olathe, will elect Montgomery's replacement at 7 p.m. on Jan. 2 at Christ Community Evangelical Free Church in Olathe.

I suspect Montgomery's resignation and timing came as a complete surprise to others. Mere days before he sent his resignation letter, he hosted a fundraiser for his campaign.

Rep. Bob Montgomery (left), Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Rep. Mike Kiegerl at a fundraiser for Kiegerl and Montgomery in Olathe on Dec. 11.

Last year at this time, Montgomery's resignation was but a rumor. (Well, kind of. Montgomery announced his intentions during a speech in which he nominated Arlen Siegfried for House Speaker. However, he never followed through.) Two candidates were actively engaging precinct committee members at the time -- Erin Davis and Mike Kiegerl. Kiegerl replaced Siegfried shortly after the end of last session, so it appears the path is clear for Davis.

We'll know for certain before 2014 is out of diapers.

Guess who isn't going to cut taxes in 2014

This should come as a surprise to exactly no one: Republican leaders don't have plans to cut taxes in 2014. Surprise. Surprise. 

I don't even...

You'll recall that legislators and dearest Gov. Brownback promised that by raising the sales tax last year, they would be setting up a way to take steps down the income-tax ladder in future years. Well, 2014 is a future year in which Republicans control the Governorship, the House and the Senate.

Guess what isn't on their agenda next year, according to an AP story?  Taking steps down the income-tax ladder. 

Take note, people. Anytime a politician promises to raise one tax in order to cut spending and/or other taxes in the future, they are lying. Every.Single.Time.  

I know it's not a nice thing to say, but I'm going to: I told you so.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Bob Montgomery out

And this time he really means it.

After a scandalous start last legislative session, Rep. Bob Montgomery has submitted a letter of resignation to Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

Montgomery, you'll recall, ran unopposed for election in Olathe's 15th District. In the scrambling that was re-districting, Montgomery moved from one of his residences to another to secure a seat in the 15th district. That's not really the scandalous part. He moved from one place he owned to another in the midst of the crazy that was redistricting. At the time, I believe he was also in the midst of a divorce. I don't know that for certain, but he's now divorced. So take that for what it's worth.

Anyway, he ran unopposed in the general election, quietly telling people he planned to resign from the seat so someone else could be appointed. His reasons remain murky. He was doing it for his family (wasn't yet divorced), his physical health, maybe he needed a mental health break. There was some confusion about when he could officially resign. Though he was already a legislator, he hadn't been sworn-in as a a legislator in the new district. So, following the election, Republicans in Olathe waited with baited breath for a resignation that would never come.

Montgomery announced he was leaving when the House met to elect leadership. He did so in the most bizarre speech ever -- officially it was a nomination speech for Arlen Seigfried candidacy for Speaker of the House. 

Fast forward to the start of the session. Montgomery just quit showing up, possibly with permission from party leadership. (I think it's because his hand-selected replacement wasn't going to be given the nod to replace him. Ergo, Montgomery stayed, but didn't show up, and everyone smiled and nodded and the good ol' boys club patted itself on the back.)

Montgomery's chosen replacement was former Rep. Mike Kiegerl. In order to run to replace Montgomery, Kiegerl also had to move a short distance. His residence is in a different district -- Siegfried's to be exact.

Now here's where it gets a little confusing. A few weeks into the session, Montgomery changed his mind and decided to stay, for the reasons I've mentioned above. A little later, Siegfried suffered some health problems and was granted a Gov. Brownback appointment to the Board of Tax Appeals. It's a swanky job with a pretty good paycheck for a little bit of work. (I personally believe the job was meant as a peace offering of sorts to Karin Brownlee, who you'll remember was fired by Brownback for not kissing enough ass.)

Anyway, the tax appeals appointment meant Siegfried's resignation, and the ascent of Kiegerl to Siegfried's seat. As an added bonus, Kiegerl actually lived in that district. 

And now, Montgomery has announced his retirement from the House of Representatives. Montgomery's letter reads:

"None of us are gifted with picking the time that our families will need us most. For myself, that time has come. My resignation will be effective the 31st day of December 2013, allowing for the Johnson County Republican Party to hold a special election to elect my replacement through the precinct committee men and women of District 15. I have no regrets. It has been my honor to serve with all of you. My prayers will be with you."

I am guessing that Erin Davis, a member of Olathe's Planning Commission, will seek the nomination and win. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Shameless media chaser Claeys makes endorsement

You heard it here first:

Rep. J.R. Claeys of Salina and most recently of Leawood BMW and Starbucks would like to announce his endorsement of Rep. Tim Huelskamp.

Fiery Huelskamp is probably my favorite representative in Kansas, now that Yoder kicked the stool out from beneath himself.

Claeys made his announcement via Twitter from a Leawood Starbucks. He was in the third district awaiting a flight -- and not kick-starting his campaign for Yoder's seat.

Boo, Kevin Yoder

Yoder voted for the Ryan-Murray budget "deal," which manages to increase spending now, eliminate many of the sequester spending cuts, all with the promise of future spending cuts. 

This makes me so angry I can hardly even write about it. There may be political strategy reasons for voting for this atrocity, but that's no excuse for bad policy. I find it especially insulting that a new father would feel so good about saddling his newborn daughter with years and years of debt just so Republicans have a better chance at securing power. If I thought for one second that a newly-elected Republican House and Senate in 2014 would work immediately to desecrate the budget (and eliminate many of the departments responsible for America's disgusting over-spending) I may be OK with the vote. However, when was the last time a Republican-lead Congress actually cut spending? (And I don't mean "cut" the future amount of increases.) Earth to them: cutting future spending increases isn't actually CUTTING spending!! It's increasing spending at a slower rate. 

Additionally, the budget adds dozens of new "fees" (or taxes). Thanks, Yoder! I think my favorite is additional funding for strip searches at the airports. There are some cuts to MILITARY pensions. So we're going to balance new spending on the backs of our service men and women. Seems fair. 

When the Paul Ryan was announcing his budget "deal" (or back stab) I was wondering what on earth he was smoking. Apparently, Ryan isn't just doing drugs. He's passing around his bong. How else to explain Yoder's disgusting, insensitive, repulsive (insert other adjectives of anger here).

I grow ever closer to quitting the Republican Party every single day. If that means the Democrats win forever into the future, so be it. At least they are honest about their desire to turn America into a socialist, police-state hellhole.

Here's Yoder's press release and reasoning:

Tonight, the House passed the Ryan-Murray Budget Conference agreement by a vote of 332-94. After voting in favor for the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013, Congressman Yoder released the following statement:

“Today, led by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, the House passed its budget for fiscal years 2014 and 2015 on a vote of 332-94. For far too long, Congress has failed to manage the basics of a running the fiscal affairs of the greatest nation on Earth.

“From the fiscal cliff, to default, to shutdowns, Americans are fatigued with the inability of their elected Representatives to do the timely work necessary to find solutions that plague our ineffective and bloated federal bureaucracy. We cannot continue to lurch from crisis to crisis.

“This two-year budget represents the first budget compromise in divided government since 1986, and Chairman Ryan’s budget spends tens of billions of dollars less than when I first entered Congress just 36 months ago.

“We still have a long way to go, but with Chairman Ryan’s budget in place, we can now begin the difficult and important work of reprioritizing and reducing spending, eliminating programs and abusive federal regulations, and making the federal government more effective and efficient for the American people.

“If we are to control spending, our country must operate under a budget. For the first time in years that has occurred, and today I voted Yes.”

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Congressional Survey

Kevin Yoder wants to know what you think. Seriously, he does. He's mailed out a survey asking deep, meaningful questions and he's Facebooking about it, and he's emailing about it, and just tell him what you think already, OK?

On Facebook, he (Oh fine. A staff member) writes, "As your Congressman, I am dedicated to providing outstanding services to the constituents in the 3rd Congressional District in Kansas... Your answers will help me focus on the issues that are really important to Kansans in the 3rd District."

The survey asks hard-hitting questions like: Generally speaking, would you say things nationally are headed in the right direction, or are things off on the wrong track? and In general, do you approve or disapprove of the job Barack Obama is doing as President? 

And then it asks you to choose your TOP TWO issues from a list that includes things like, "Moral issues, immigration reform, healthcare and cutting taxes."

This kind of survey is so vapid. If I say "healthcare" is one of my main issues, does that mean I think ObamaCare is a great idea or a terrible one? What does Yoder think I mean when I check a box saying "moral issues" are one of my top concerns? It's possible that I worry about the growing oppression of Christians in America or maybe I just want more public opportunities to sacrifice Democrats to Gaia. There's no follow-up question that addresses why any of those issues may or may not be my top concerns.

Surveys are typically used as a means for politicians to show "support" for various spending programs. An example locally: Johnson County Parks and Recreation will tell you up down and sideways that people in Johnson County want more parks. How do they know? Because one time, they did a survey with a question asking, do you like parks? And people said yes. There were no questions about how much people wanted to spend on a park. But EVERYONE likes parks. I also like vacations, a lot. That doesn't mean I want the government funding them for everyone. 

In reading (and taking the survey multiple times!) I can't find any pet projects in the questionnaire that Yoder is trying to fund. So there's that. 

However, I think it's relatively clear that the goal of the quiz is to get Yoder's name in front of people and take full advantage of Congressional franking privilege. Mission accomplished, I guess.

As an aside, a very dumb co-worker today was extremely angry about the survey being sent to her house. She said how dare the Congressman spend tax money in sending it. And how dare he tell her to she HAS TO fill out a survey. I just let her keep on thinking that she had no choice but to fill out the voluntary paperwork, because I just don't see the point of trying to correct someone that ridiculous.

K.Yo., look for my survey(s), will you? And if you want to sponsor legislation by which the American people fund at least one dream vacation per year for me personally (and one special friend) I won't be opposed. Unfortunately, your survey monkey didn't offer a comment section, or I would have mentioned it there.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Should Olathe voters fire Copeland, Ryckman, Campbell?

 I should've written more about the Olathe sales tax increase election when it was occurring. I didn't pay enough attention to speak about the topic knowledgeably at the time. My default position on all tax increases is simply, nope. Uh uh. And honestly, I thought the people of Olathe were too stupid to fall for a sales tax ploy. It's probably the most conservative city in Johnson County. In short, I wasn't worried about that dumb sales tax passing.

I was wrong. I should've paid closer attention. And I should never doubt the impact of the low-information voter. 

I did write briefly about this election, which you'll find here.

People far better informed than me, however, are now saying that Olathe officials violated the Kansas Open Meetings Act. I have no doubt they did. Conservative Olathe voters should consider throwing so-called conservative members of Olathe's governing body, including Mayor Mike Copeland, council members Larry Campbell and Ron Ryckman, Jr., out of ALL of their political offices.

Copeland serves as the Deputy Secretary of Labor. Voters can't toss him out, but those on the inside might want to mention to our conservative Gov. Brownback, that there's a liberal draped in conservative clothing serving at Brownback's behest in the state bureaucracy. Further, voters should carefully question whether to send Ryckman and Campbell back to the state legislature, where they both serve as representatives, in 2014. (Please note, I'm not saying voters should definitely throw them out. I'm saying they should definitely think long and hard about keeping them.)

I learned from the Facebook page of Benjamin Hodge, a conservative activist and regular rabble rouser, that the Olathe City Council met in a special meeting to add "upgrade and improve" to the ballot question. The changes were never mentioned in the printed packet, and the changes to the ballot language were not "noticed." I'm not going to bore you with Kansas Open Meetings Act mumbo-jumbo. The bottom line is the ballot language posted on the city's own website was wrong.

But those two simple words will now give the city council vast authority to use those sales tax dollars for things other than "streets." Critics are correct in alleging the changed ballot language will now allow the city to use the funds for things like bike paths and other things that have little to do with road maintenance.
Hodge's Facebook post said he could not find a physical record that the council actually ever voted on corrected language. And he noted, city officials thought the added words important enough that the language was added to the question. Voters should be asking why the change was necessary. Olathe's spokesperson said attorneys deemed the change necessary, but still, the question remains: Why? What will the language change now allow the city to fund through a virtual slush fund?

Set aside the problems with the flawed process. It's repulsive for conservatives who supposedly support things like making elections more transparent and more partisan by moving them to November would approve of a mail-in ballot, for a tax increase, during a random time of the year. Sounds like greasing an election to ensure the least informed voters have the greatest say possible. The hypocrisy is really something.
Most significantly, this sales tax increase for stuff a city's ad valorem taxes should be covering is going to spread like a viral outbreak of H1N1. Other cities will look to the Olathe model of tax and spend and emulate it. Of that, I'm certain.
I will repeat one more time why conservative Olathe officials have lost their minds on this issue.
1. Road maintenance is one of a city's two primary obligations. (The other, in my mind, is public safety). If the city isn't funding roads with its existing funding pools, which are MASSIVE, they're doing it wrong. 
2.  Olathe is one of the fastest growing communities. New growth means extra cash (and expenditures) in the form of development fees. Those fees should be set at a rate in which development pays for itself. Meanwhile, Olathe offers a wealth of retail. That means the city is already collecting tons in sales tax receipts. I feel for tiny towns that only boast a school and a post office. Those communities are probably feeling the pinch. 
3. In addition to an already steady and healthy sales tax stream, Olathe's property values are stagnant at worst, and at best, property values in parts of Olathe are increasing. Even without a property tax rate increase, that means city coffers are growing. These aren't Olathe's sole revenue sources, but they're a good start, and these are the wells from which the city should have already been funding street maintenance.
4. The argument that sales taxes are largely paid by outsiders is dishonest. Yes, people from outside of Olathe contribute to sales taxes through purchases in Olathe, but people who live in Olathe are contributing a larger share. Conservatives should NEVER make the argument that a tax somehow doesn't matter or doesn't count just because someone else is paying it, and shame on any conservative who does so. 
5. The Olathe sales tax hurts the conservative cause, in part, because it allows liberals to honestly say that Republicans are nothing but Democrat-Lite. In the case of Olathe Republicans, the liberals are correct. The other way it hurts conservatives is this: Conservatives only have so much money to contribute to causes and candidates. When a conservative PAC like Hodge's Kansans for State and Local Reform is spending money on Olathe sales tax questions, that's money they won't have to spend on conservative issues and candidates in other elections. (Say what you want about that political PAC or its leadership, but at least they're out there championing conservative causes and candidates. I, for one, appreciate most of their efforts.)

File it under "Irritating Liberal Lies"

Global warming, err, global climate change: IT'S NOT REAL, and the people pimping out the idea that it is a real danger to humanity are charlatans. Pure and simple. They deserve to be laughed off stage. They should be treated like members of the Flat Earth Society and Holocaust deniers.

But that's not what we get from these people. They're out in front calling people like us "deniers." It makes me sick. I'm not going to waste one second clarifying why global warming, now called global climate change, is a hoax. Just understand that when these nut jobs talk about "climate change" or "global warming" they're talking about anthropogenic or man-made climate change. Essentially, these crazies think that piddly little you, with your aerosol deodorant and hairspray, you, are changing the temperature of the Earth. It's beyond ridiculous.

So it was not without a little rage that I read an email from "Evan Gates" expressing the outrage of State Sen. Marci Francisco and State Rep. Ed Trimmer over American Legislative Exchange Council proposals to promote "climate change denying legislation in Kansas."

Francisco insists that Kansas shows clear signs of climate change.

“We are experiencing higher temperatures and drought in Kansas.  Our climate is changing and we need Kansas solutions to address it,” said Sen. Francisco 

 Trimmer blasts ALEC.

"ALEC is a front group for the special interests who are advancing politically-motivated policies that promote their profits over the interests of Kansans," Trimmer says in the release. "Scientists have settled the question of climate change. We need policies that promote clean Kansas energy and protect the health of Kansans and their environment. The last thing we need is climate deniers from ALEC doing permanent damage to our state."

Um, virtually every piece of legislation that is promoted by anyone is "politically-motivated." When Planned Parenthood advocates salting unborn babies to death, it's "politically-motivated." By definition, when school districts and city governments go to the Legislature requesting additional funding from the state or limiting of unfunded mandates, it's "politically-motivated."   

While we're on the topic, don't you just love how every group that raises or spends money to advocate or educate on causes that might be considered conservative instantly becomes the boogeyman to Democrats. I imagine they tell their children spooky tales about ALEC and Americans for Prosperity and the Koch brothers jumping out of bedroom closets to devour puppies. Meanwhile, the wonderful people of Moveon.org, Organizing for America, the Center for American Progress and George Soros, jump out of dark closets to abort their siblings. Sweet dreams, liberal children.

Anyway, I balk at the suggestion that scientists have settled the question of climate change. Really? Because it seems like the most famous climate change "research," the famed hockey stick graph, was a scientific hoax, as in, the "scientists" just made up the results. If that's the high bar we're using to call something "settled science" then I demand that we all agree that the best way a child can be raised is in the same home with a mom and a dad who are married to one another. It's settled science already, so I don't want to hear another word about how single mothers or two fathers or two mothers are just as good for children. It's "settled." I can quote several studies, which haven't been proved hoaxes to verify my statement.

A rabbi is also quoted pleading with Kansas legislators to "give prayerful consideration to God's directive to care for creation..." 

I thought liberals were opposed to invoking God in policy making. I guess they're willing to make an exception this one time.

The email was sent by some dude named Evan Gates. The contact number directs dialers to Kansas Grassroots, a liberal political consulting firm, which is not listed in the email. Gates isn't listed as a staff member of the firm, but Google tells me he served as the president of the University of Kansas Democrats. Make what that what you will.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Insert headline that doesn't use curse words

Because I am unable.

Here rests the rotting carcass of a once great movement. It is the Tea Party. 

While the spirit of what created the Tea Party continues to exist, it has been manhandled nearly to death by wanna-be leaders more interested in being recognized than in moving the political narrative forward and creating meaningful change.

When the Tea Party began, it was truly an organization of grass roots people. My biggest fear was that this group, made of common sense people who'd had enough, would be overtaken by some existing leader. I pictured some name brand political has-been or wants-to-become like Dick Armey or Newt Gingrich or Karl Rove would wrestle his (or her) way into a de facto spokesperson of the group, and that the group would become just another arm of the Republican Establishment.

Unfortunately what's happening to this once vibrant, grass roots body may be worse. In a race to maintain its grass roots flavor, no organic, no-name leaders stepped forward to take the reins. That seemed like a good thing. The purists didn't want or need an actual leader. The Tea Party was an organic organization born of political frustration that could sustain itself through sheer passion and hard work. Only, that's not what happened.

Instead of a name brand leader, the group splintered into a thousand different hydra-heads. Hydra, for those who aren't well-versed in mythology, was a nine-headed water serpent. When Herecules cut off one its heads, two more grew in its place.

The dozens of serpent heads bent on leading the Tea Party do not appear to be pure of intent. They want to be players. Here's my quiet example: One such person, who runs a small group in Johnson County, once proclaimed his distaste for JCRP Chair Ronnie Metsker, because at an Olathe Republican Party meeting, Metsker had the gall to not know who this guy was. Didn't I understand this person was the "grand leader of the Tea Party Patriot Activists for Liberty and Change Coalition?" (Yeah, I made that up.)

In the true Tea Party movement, individuals don't matter. (Ironic, I know.) Principles, action, results -- those things matter.Who got credit? Not so much.

I'm not going to mention a lot of names here, because the vast majority of these Tea Party leaders of splinter groups are not relevant or well-known. They are No Namers with heads swollen so large they have their own gravitational pull. I know that's harsh, but truly these people have damaged what was once a great cause.

I am, however, going to mention one name, and only because this brief flame-out's actions need to be condemned.

So a handful of people in Wichita decided to host a Tea Party Convention. I'm told the convention attracted tens of people. As in, at least 10 people, but less than 30 people. It was streamed live on the internet, and I have no way of knowing how many people tuned in. I wasn't one of them. Everything I know about the convention I've heard second hand.

The event was organized by Craig Gabel. I do not know him. I have never met him. What little I do know is this: A few groups and individuals that I admire have distanced themselves from him. They have not specifically said why. So, this is awkward for me, because most of the people I write about in this blog are people that I do know at least a little bit. I can't say the same for this guy, and I want everyone to know, I'm not bashing him to be cruel or gossipy. I am condemning his statements that he is somehow the leader of an umbrella group of conservative groups.

Gabel ran for the Kansas House in 2012. He did not win. In a heated race for Wichita City Council, the opposing candidate requested a temporary protection order against Gabel. He didn't pay taxes on a Wichita steakhouse he owned for 9 years. The restaurant is now closed. He was rejected by the Wichita City Council for a seat on an advisory group due to outstanding tax liens.

Before I go much further, I need to say this: One reason this blog is anonymous is that people will retaliate against those with whom they disagree. That could easily be the case with Gabel. I honestly do not know. I don't live in Wichita. I rarely visit there. The GOP activists I know never mention the guy. That said, the Wichita Eagle must devote a full-time reporter to him, because they've reported a million different crazy stories on Gabel. Gabel also apparently runs (did run??) a free newspaper, which is kind of cool. Unfortunately, that newspaper ran an editorial that said a shoot-on-sight order might be advisable if city council members voted a certain way. That's not cool.

So, Gabel is a guy who has made some political enemies. He's rattled some cages and lost some battles. I can deal with that.

What I can't deal with is this random dude attempting to carry the mantle for every Tea Party person across the state. Mr. Gabel, you don't speak for me. Ya just don't. Maybe the two dozen people in attendance elected you to be the chair of your own party, and that's cool. But please, please, stay out of the media asserting that you represent everyone in the Tea Party or conservative movement. I promise, you don't.

The Cap-Journal tried to place all Kansas conservatives under the Craig Gabel banner, and I think that's unfair. A story last week called Gabel's group, "an umbrella organization for Kansas political conservatives." 

No, his group isn't. And if, heaven forbid, members of the media attempt to paint tea partiers with the Gabel brush in the future, Gabel should correct them. It's simply not true. He doesn't speak for everyone.

And while we're on the topic, this recall nonsense about Reps. Melissa Rooker and Diana Dierks needs to stop. It's almost the dumbest thing I've heard all day, and I listened to a President Obama speech today, so I've got a pretty long list of stupid.

There is no way on planet earth that this handful of activists from Wichita can get enough signatures to recall Rooker, a Johnson County (RINO) Republican, prior to the 2014 legislative session. I just don't see the point of recalling someone who will be up for election before they take anymore votes.

The people put Rooker and Dierks into office less than two years ago. They are both up for re-election in less than a year. 

I'm really not a fan of recalls, primarily because I'm a believer in the rule of law, and I don't know, not living in a Banana Republic. The law requires that Rooker and Dierks actually break the law in order to be recalled. Maybe they have pot-growing operations in their basements, but I doubt it. 

Recalls shouldn't be used to ouster people with whom we politically disagree. They just shouldn't. That's why we have elections. So, please, the cult followers of Gabel, stop talking about a recall. It's the absolute NOT CONSERVATIVE position. Conservatives believe in the rule of law, right? Right.

I say all of these things as a self-proclaimed Tea Party member -- not as a leader. Speaking only for myself, please think about what you're doing. Your words are making an awful lot of us look silly.

A quick gander at the Tea Party Convention platform leads me to believe Gabel and I are mostly on the same page. From the Cap-J, here are the elements of the group's platform. My comments are in italics.

Elements of the coalition platform:
■ Taxation: Limit property tax abatement to 50 percent, eliminate the individual income tax, phase out in five years a state business development program granting 10 percent income tax credits and sales tax exemptions, and drop the sales tax exemption on services.
(Stop tax abatements all together. Please and thank you. They are the essence of providing financial incentives to friends and supporters. They're gross and ultimately unnecessary.)
■ Education: Redefine "adequate education" in the Kansas Constitution, ban Common Core academic standards in K-12 public schools, authorize state-issued vouchers for private education, and block school districts from using tax revenue to promote bond issues.
 (I agree whole-heartedly. Sign me up.)
■ Abortion: Prohibit abortions in Kansas after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which could mean a ban on the procedure less than three weeks beyond conception.
(Yes. Do it.
■ Environment: Repeal a state plan to generate 20 percent of electricity in Kansas from "green" sources, such as wind.
(How about we eliminate wind tax credits first. That ought to kill the plan. And if it doesn't? I'm not opposed to wind energy if it works. I just don't want to subsidize it.
■ Workplace: Privatize the Kansas Public Employees Retirement system and prohibit collective bargaining by public employees.
(Sure. Sounds good.
■ Judicial: Form a committee of the Kansas Legislature to investigate malfeasance by the judicial branch and develop an enhanced recall process for judges.
(Judicial reform is a must. I'm not sure this is the answer. Scratch that. I'm pretty sure this IS NOT the answer. Let's fix the appointment process first.
■ Fluoride: Dictate operators of public water supply systems to include on bills a reference to research purporting to show the additive causes mental and physical impairment.
(This is a Wichita thing. I don't get it. I like good teeth. A lot. If it's eliminated from our public water supply, I guess I'll live. But I don't see the urgency here.
■ Elections: Move all city and school board elections to November to enhance partisan interest in those ballots.
(Calling Ronnie Metsker and Jody WhatsherFace on the Johnson County Charter Commission. This should have been done two years ago at least in Johnson County. I'm still baffled as to exactly how it wasn't changed there already. While we're on the topic, I do think requiring municipal elections to be held at a certain time may be a home rule issue. I'd be pleased as punch if my local governing entities held their elections at more memorable times, but I'm not sure I want the state deciding.)

A Conservative to enter the race??

This just in yesterday, from some dude I don't really know on Facebook.

Patricia Lightner may toss her hat into the ring for Johnson County Board of Commission Chair. 

Eh. I'm OK with that.
Most recently she ran against K.Yo for U.S. House in 2010. There were 25,000 people in the race, many of the good, solid conservative type. She placed a distant second in that primary. Considering the bazillion people in the race, and the old money thrown at Yoder, she had a very good showing. I found her a little, well, dull. But compared to the Ed and Ed show, she's a showstopper.

Lightner is a former state representative, who is also very active in the Olathe Republican Party. (At least she used to be. I haven't been to an Olathe GOP event in ages. Her husband David is the chair. ) She served in the state house from 1998 to 2004. So there may be interesting nuggets from her voting record.

She's more conservative than most, and I think she's definitely up to the task. She wouldn't be my very first choice, but she wouldn't be my last either.

As I said months ago, I'm looking forward to watching this race unfold.

It's a fraternity convention.


Look at this picture? What do you see? You're looking at GOP interns getting some knowledge in D.C. this morning.

Sigh. Sigh. Sigh. Sigh. Sigh.

Lynn Jenkins just launched this photo into the Twittersphere moments ago. And typically, I don't mention this stuff, because really. What good does it do? (Answer none.)

But, I'm cranky. I haven't had my cheerios, and someone brought in coffee imported from someplace like New Jersey, which for the record, does not have a good record in raising quality coffee beans. And bah humbug.

Anyway, if you're me, and you stumble upon this photo, you think, oh look. It's an accounting fraternity convention. It isn't. (See above.)

I'm going to drop a hard-learned piece of knowledge, here, so read carefully: Perception almost ALWAYS equals reality, and the reality we're looking at here is one we should be working diligently to correct.

Is the make-up of Congressional interns this semester virtually all white and male? I know we're not the party of quotas, and I don't want us to be. I would be disappointed if we were. However, we're working against a perception that the Republican party is the party of old, white males. (I guess these people are young, so great. I guess). 

Can we at least make a partial nod to changing the perception? Not because we think it's important. We know there are women and minorities in the Republican party. Why don't we EVER take pictures of them? That's all.