Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): 2015

Sunday, December 27, 2015

A NY Resolution for Brownback

Oh, Guv,

If I could make a resolution for you, it would be this: Stop giving interviews, especially exclusive one-on-ones, with members of the press who hate you. 

It is a tradition for the Kansas Governor to sit down one-on-one with members of the Statehouse press corps at the end of the year. However, just because something has always been done one way that doesn't necessarily mean it has to continue that way forever. By that logic, women would still be whispering in their husbands' ears about whom they should vote.

Anyway, as is the tradition, Brownback sat down individually with reporters trained to hate him. And so between Christmas and New Year's Kansans will get to read a barrage of stories about how the Governor is "standing by failed policies, closing hospitals, and being mean to small children." It's soooo predictable.

This is the first Brownback as Grinch story I've seen, but I know more are coming. The Lawrence Journal World's Peter Hancock begins his story by telling readers that Brownback is "making no apologies for gun policies" that will allow weapons on Kansas college campuses. Um, why would he apologize? Why is this news? Brownback advocated for the policies, which have yet to even go into effect. I guess the expectation from the press corp is that Brownback would see all of their editorials and realize the error of his ways without a shred of evidence that the policy will have any damaging effect? (Other than college kids protesting. We should ALL take seriously the protestations of privileged college kids, obviously.)

I don't understand why Brownback grants these interviews every year -- or at any time, really. Truly, it's confusing to me. It's simply not necessary anymore. Grant interviews to friendlies -- ahem, I'd be happy to set up an appointment -- and lock the gate and throw away the key to so-called journalists intent on making you look bad. If the President can bash Fox News on a daily basis and grant interviews to a woman famous for bathing and eating a tub full of cereal and milk (Pah.uke) then there is no reason Brownback can't slam the door in the LJW's face. Yes, the Governor would get some bad publicity for it, but uh... he's getting bad publicity anyway. 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Who's Looking Stupid Now?

It's no secret that I detest the way politicians are always slobbering all over one another. (Well, maybe it's a secret, but if it is, it shouldn't be!) Republican Senators on round table shows are always falling all over themselves to call the Democrat at the table, "My friend," "The Honorable," etc. I can't stand it. I'm not saying they should be mean, but there's no excuse for fawning all over the opposition. (BTW, this is what almost Kansas politician does at the mere mention of Bob Dole.)

I hate it for two reasons: One, this fawning and groveling falls just short of worship, and false idols are bad. (I read that somewhere.) Two, it's dishonest. If the two parties in question are friends, surely they don't hang out on the golf course slobbering praises all over one another. At least, that's not how I act with my friends, and that's certainly not how they act with me. (Mental note: Get better friends??)

Anyway, so I mention all of this, because someone should be sitting in his office wearing a dunce hat. Gov. Sam Brownback just couldn't help himself when Paul Ryan was elected U.S. Speaker of the House. Ryan once worked for Brownback, so of course, the Kansas Governor trotted out a healthy press release praising Ryan. 

"Paul Ryan is a great policy mind with a proven record of working with others to find solutions to our nation's challenges. The country needs solutions right now. He will be a great Speaker."

Here. Hold my vomit bag. (Hands imaginary friend bag full of yesterday's meals.)

So, let's talk about how ragingly awesome Ryan is as Speaker, shall we?

Rush Limbaugh is calling Ryan a "Democrat's wet dream" for that disastrous budget bill in which Republicans didn't fight for a single thing. Not one. The Republicans, under the awesome tutelage of Sam Brownback's favorite puppy Paul Ryan, just handed the entire country to the Democrats on a silver platter. Those wusses didn't even put up a fight. 

I guess they couldn't be bothered to, you know, do the will of the American people. This was the ultimate back stab. 

These lying liars who lie -- ahem, U.S. Congress -- are the reason I refuse to have my picture taken with any politicians. You know, you've seen a million of these vanity photos on Facebook -- the ones where Random Friend is posing with his arm around Sam Brownback, and then there's Random Friend again posing with Kevin Yoder, and then there's Random Friend again with Paul Ryan, and there he is AGAIN with an arm around Bobby Jindal. Facebook photos of individuals cozying up to politicians are the equivalent of skinny jeans -- they just make you look ridiculous. And that, my friends, is what Brownback has done by slobbering all over Paul Ryan. 

Pro Tip: When you're the Governor of a state, and someone you know is being noticed by the news media, you don't HAVE to send a press release. You can just ignore it. 

For what it's worth, 95 courageous Republicans opposed the monstrosity that fully funds EVEN MORE Syrian refugees and worse, gives the Baby Part Chop Shop (Planned Parenthood) every dime they sought. Kansas can take pride in the votes of Lynn Jenkins, Mike Pompeo and Tim Huelskamp. 

Go ahead and make a note, Yoder voted with Ryan.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Stompy. Stompy. Barb Shelley Mad.

Barb Shelley is mad. Stompy. Stompy. Stompy.
Gov. Sam Brownback has had the audacity to appoint people to offices and positions to which they have no experience.

To which, I say, DUH!!! 

I know this comes as a super shock, but most politicians appoint people with no experience to positions they have no business serving. Shelley writes in a ridiculous screed for the Star as if Brownback is the first politician to appoint friends and political supporters in this fashion.

The dumb. It’s strong.

If we’re being honest, it drives me absolutely bonkers, 9,000 degrees of up the wall, the way politicians line their staffs and appointments with political pals and their children. That said, it is dishonest and insincere to pretend that this is something only Republicans do. I mean, come on, man.


I’m also hearing a common refrain that there’s far too much turnover in Brownback’s Cabinet. This may come as a shock, but that’s really business as usual. Former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius had more turnover than Brownback. Good luck finding that fact in print anywhere, but I am not making this up. The primary difference between the turnover in Brownback’s administration and the turnover in Sebelius’ administration is partisan hacks like Shelley pretending it’s some sort of bizarre reflection on the person in charge. If that’s the case, someone should have a serious talk with the President about the insane turnover in his administration. And don’t even get me started on his appointments to ambassadorships. (Also, not uncommon for Presidents to give ambassadorships to their friends, Kennedys, donors, Hollywood starlets. Still, it’s gross.)

So yes, Brownback appoints people who have no experience to jobs they probably shouldn’t hold. And don’t make me reiterate how your chances of a cherry job or political appointment in the Brownback administration increase exponentially if you attend a certain Topeka church or live in Kim Borchers’ basement. But let’s not pretend Sebelius, Obama, any politician since the dawn of man, has had a vetting process that thoroughly took into consideration potential appointees’ experience, education or skill. 

This feels like the place where I should mention that President Obama appointed Kathleen Sebelius to take over one-sixth of the U.S. economy as the Secretary of Health and Human Services. I'm pretty sure her VAST experience for the job included marrying someone with the right last name, backing Obama instead of Hillary and in bewildering fashion -- managing to get elected Kansas Governor. Oh, and she was an ambulance chasing lawyer before that. Clearly, highly, highly qualified for that job.

Shelley's attempt at a Brownback hatchet job is just sad.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Stop the madness, Bob Dole

Remember former President Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment: Though shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican?

Yeah, apparently Bob Dole has forgotten it too. His excuse, I guess, is old age and a desperate cry for attention – ANY KIND OF ATTENTION – and legitimacy. There he is, Kansas’ “favorite son”, being quoted as a hero on Occupy Democrat.

Dole doesn’t like Donald Trump; and he thinks Cruz is “extreme” for not being more like Mitch McConnell (I just threw up a little bit in my mouth). The President, however, is a “good man.”

I don’t even have words. Dole is entitled to his ill-formed, pathetic opinions, but can we please, please stop listening to him? And can Kansas Republicans STOP with the Bob Dole ring kissing?

Like clockwork, every campaign season, my Facebook feed is bombarded with Kansas Congressional delegates bowing at the altar of Bob Dole. Every summer, we get another behind-kissing announcement from the same people proudly wishing Dole a happy birthday and touting his accomplishments.
Dole’s resume includes being the Tax Collector for the Welfare State and getting elected a whole bunch of times. Oh, and the country gave him a lovely Farewell Tour when he was soundly and embarrassingly walloped by skirt-chaser in chief, Bill Clinton. All of this makes me seriously question the wisdom of my elders, who repeatedly thought Dole should stay in Congress for a million years. (While we’re on the topic, please tell me we don’t have to do this ring-kissing, altar worshiping thing when Sen. Pat Roberts finally, mercifully decides that someone else – anyone else – is capable of representing Kansas in the U.S. Senate.)

As I’ve said before, I admire Dole’s service to our country in World War II, but that’s not why we know his name today. Getting elected isn’t exactly jumping on a landmine to save a friend, but that’s the kind of praise Kansans heap on Bob Dole every two or three months. Quite frankly, I’ve had enough of cheering his decades of “service” in the U.S. Congress. It gives me the heebie jeebies. Just stop, OK. Stop it.

Bob Dole is not your friend, if you support low taxes, slowing the President’s vile, anti-American agenda, attend church, or think the U.S. should be a sovereign country. Do you hear me, Kansas Republicans? Bob Dole is NOT YOUR FRIEND. If stabbing you in the back will get him a mention in the Huffington Post, he’ll do it, gladly. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Attack of the so-called mods

The good news is most of the so-called mods are running as Democrats, appropriately.

The bad news is all for them: They're going to lose and lose in ways that make even the staunchest of conservatives uncomfortable.

The KC Star reported this week that several political newcomers will be challenging conservatives in Johnson County for seats in the Kansas Legislature. Let the clown show commence.

  • Leesa Gabel, so called mod Republican, will attempt to oust Rep. Keith Esau.

  • Vicki Hiatte, accurately campaigning as a Dem,  will vie for Sen. Mary Pilcher Cook's seat.

  • Dinah Sykes, so called mod, will attempt to unseat Sen. Greg Smith.
  • Cindy Holscher, Dem, will take on Rep. Amanda Grosserode.
I know of a few other so-called moderates and Johnson County Dems also planning to take a stab at defeating conservative office holders. 

What do all of these candidates have in common -- other than a stunning lack of political experience? They plan to campaign on the fact that Johnson County schools are destitute. 

Yeah. That's the ticket.

It's almost like a bunch of candidates tried that just last election cycle. I won't bore you with how it turned out, but, um... you should note the very limited number of moderates and Democrats who hold office in Kansas. 

As one very wise Democratic operative put it in a post, "How the Kansas Democratic Party Drove Itself to Near Extinction" on the DailyKos: Johnson County parents weren't going to believe the argument that education was suffering when their kids "were coming home with free technology."

The Kansas liberals just can't get it through their thick skulls: Kansas is a conservative state. The sad part is their ineptitude is not creating a big enough challenge for conservatives. Competition is good, but Kansas conservatives don't really have any.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

It wasn't your ovaries, Nancy. It was your last name

I’ll just say it: I am NOT a fan of Nancy Kassebaum.

Kassebaum, mainstream media gushes, was the second woman elected to the U.S. Senate by her own right, “not preceded by a husband or appointed to fulfill an unexpired term.”

She was elected to the Senate largely on name recognition. She wasn’t preceded by her husband, but her father, Alf Landon, was a wealthy oilman and former Kansas Governor AND a Republican presidential candidate in 1936.  She didn’t run for the Senate as “Nancy Kassebaum.” She ran as “Nancy Landon Kassebaum.” Her campaign slogan was “A Fresh Face: A Trusted Kansas Name.” So, yeah, she totally ran and found success on her own merit. (And if you buy that story, let me tell you about this ocean front property in Johnson County, available for a song.)

Can we please stop pretending she was elected to the Senate by plucky hard work and a winning attitude? Seriously, just stop it, Wichita Eagle. Yes, the Eagle has an exclusive story about Kansas’ Political Female Has Been of Record. (The male version is Bob Dole.)

She says, correctly, that if she were to run today she wouldn’t make it past a Kansas primary. Of course, she blames social media. Newsflash, Nance: You’re out of touch – not just in Kansas, but out of touch overall. And it ISN’T because of the Facebook and the Internets. It’s because the people of Kansas gave you 18 years in the U.S. Senate – 18 years to improve, to lead, to meet meaningful challenges – and you used that time to explode the debt, creating a federal culture rich in regulation and overspending. Gross.

She supports gun control measures, Medicaid expansion and criticizes Brownback initiatives to lower taxes. And then there’s her monstrous belief that babies don’t have an intrinsic right to life. Of course she wouldn’t make it out of a Kansas primary, and that loss would actually be based on her merit.

We should absolutely seek the counsel and advice of our elders. We should value their experience, but we don’t have to kiss a ring or pretend Nancy Kassebaum has some sort of magical legacy. She’s free to regale us with tales of her wisdom, but we should take much of her tale with a grain of salt. She’s no saint. (Actually, I’d call her a bit of a back stabber.) And for the love of all that is holy, let’s stop pretending she broke some mythical glass ceiling for women. Her daddy broke the ceiling just enough for her to work her way through. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

How to get appointed to Brownback's cabinet

A good resume helps, but most importantly, one must have ties to a certain Topeka church or Benedictine College or be a personal friend of Kim Borchers -- or live in her basement.

Brownback has found a new Commerce Secretary.  After a careful search(ish), Brownback will nominate Antonio J. Soave to replace former Commerce Secretary Pat George. The Kansas Senate must confirm Soave. Assuming he doesn't withdraw like the last guy, he should take over at Commerce in December.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Yowsers! Borchers, Basement dwellers, Budget Directors and Loyalty

So, there's a showdown about to go down in T-town. The Topeka Capitol Journal has finally pulled its head out of its collective behind long enough to inquire exactly why Gov. Sam Brownback has SUCH trouble keeping cabinet members. Actually, it's a series of stories in which a reporter attempts to play psychologist. Shorman probably shouldn't quit his day job.

Unfortunately, the Cap-J barely scratches the surface on the reasons, but I suspect those reasons are about to come screaming to the surface. I'll simply say this: in the article, the only person who comes close to full admission of the slow moving train wreck that is Gov. Brownback's cabinet, is a Democrat. 

Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, said past internal conflict among administration officials could be explained by Kim Borchers. Borchers is currently the deputy chief of staff but for much of the administration served as appointments director.
Ding! Ding! We have a winner. The article makes mention of former cabinet member Rob Siedlicki and Karin Brownlee being summarily given the boot. You can find my take here and here

My take goes something like this: When you board the Brownback train, you sit in your seat and keep your mouth shut. You do not attempt to help read the map or offer suggestions for more direct routes. This is, perhaps, a character flaw in our ambitious Governor. I suspect he likes to be surrounded by 'yes' men and women rather than trusting the judgment of those around him. 

That's what I wrote then. I think I got a small part of that wrong. Gov. Brownback absolutely, with no questions asked, trusts Borchers. If Borchers likes you, you get a seat at the table. In return, you agree to attend Borchers' church and you agree to shut your mouth when and if you disagree with her assessment of anything.

This, by the way, is how we end up with inexperienced youngsters -- one who LIVES with Borchers -- serving as the Governor's deputy communications director. 

Since the dawn of the Brownback Administration, Borchers has served as transition coordinator, appointments coordinator and now, deputy chief of staff.

Steve Anderson, a former Brownback budget director, speaking of the former chief of staff, Dennis Taylor, described it this way in a Facebook post:

"I soon learned that if you were a member of the close circle of friends and campaign volunteers incompetence was overlooked and often rewarded," Anderson wrote.  

I'll be honest: Brownback's unquestioning faith in Borchers, and apparently, Taylor, makes me question some things. Clearly, Borchers has been a major supporter and campaigner for Brownback since the beginning of his political career. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with forming loyalty and friendships in those situations. But it's weird -- really, really weird -- that Brownback seems to take her advice and counsel above and beyond almost anyone elses'. 

There, I said it. I do not mean to imply anything immoral or untoward, but his behavior where Borchers is concerned -- trusting her beyond people with absolute expertise, people he himself appointed for their specific skills -- is not normal human behavior. 

Borchers' experience, other than as a frequent Brownback campaigner, is almost a dozen years as a district manager for a pharmaceutical company. I do not know how that translates into a hiring or appointment expert. But then, this is how we do things. Campaign for the right person, find yourself the lead executive of a state department. Sigh.

It's no big surprise in T-town that Brownback is having trouble finding a Secretary of Commerce.  Anyone with a lick of sense knows it's unwise to trust your professional future to the whims of Friends of Brownback (FOBs).

So the Cap-J series sparked some Facebook tell-all. Well, almost tell-all. I am waiting with baited breath for the rest of it.

Anderson took to his Facebook page after reading one article. In one article, "The Inner Circle," former secretary of administration, Dennis Taylor (FOB), throws Anderson under the bus.

Anderson, for what it's worth, is one of the few former Brownback staffers who actually has professional experience in the area in which they "administrated." Anderson is a CPA.

Taylor says Anderson proposed a budget plan that would have required cutting 2,000 state staffers.

On his Facebook page, Anderson essentially said, um, no. That's not what happened. In his post, Anderson said the plan he presented would have sustained the tax cut without cutting state worker staff.

"I am going to release the document that was given to the Chief of Staff (then, Taylor) and Governor in 2012 after the tax cut passed," Anderson writes. "It includes all the changes needed to sustain the tax cut which did NOT include firing anyone by the way. The Governor at least did me the courtesy of reading it and returning it with a few comments where as the Chief of Staff never commented after tossing the five page document on his desk when it was handed to him."

Anderson writes that Taylor helped hang two fine public servants -- Siedlicki and Brownlee -- out to dry "while Taylor continued to make work misery for his employees while coasting to a retirement paid for by the citizens of Kansas."

That enough, Anderson wrote, would not be enough for him to break his silence on the Brownback administration mess, except "It is clear that this administration intends to raise taxes on citizens in order to cover their lack of management skills in the next session."

That "lack of management skills" is trusting your friends over experts in the field. I guess you can call it a fault of loyalty, if you're a glass half full kind of person.  

But it appears Brownback's loyalty may cost small businesses and Kansans. I've long been upset about how the Kansas Legislature and the Brownback Administraion handled Brownback's plan to eliminate Kansas income taxes. (Remember that slide down the income tax scale to zero? We're still waiting, and it looks like we're going to just have to keep waiting.)

I long said spending cuts should have been made BEFORE lowering income taxes. Of course, that would have required the possibility of upsetting someone. So budget cuts never happened. In fact, many departments got to spend even more. (This is rarely if ever reported. We're just supposed to go on believing FOREVER that the sky is falling. Children are suffering. Old people are being tossed off cliffs, etc., etc.)

Anderson writes that he had a plan to make the tax cut work for the long term. The former budget director says he intends to release a document that he gave to Chief of Staff Taylor and the Governor in 2012 -- the year the tax passed.

"It includes all the changes needed to sustain the tax cut which did NOT include firing anyone by the way," Anderson wrote" The Governor at least did me the courtesy of reading it and returning it with a few comments whereas the Chief of Staff never commented after tossing the five page document on his desk when it was handed to him."

Wise, educated readers of this blog, you're going to have to choose which side of the story you believe. I, for one, am inclined to buy what Anderson is selling. I would be remiss, though, if I didn't mention that Siedlicki commented on Anderson's post: "I spoke highly of my time in the administration. Shame not everyone did..."

So Siedlicki, who also made kind remarks in the Cap J story isn't saying that Anderson is wrong, just that he isn't loyal to his friends, I suppose.

Here's the thing about loyalty: If your friends require absolute fealty to their opinions with no room for disagreement, they aren't really your friends. This is a lesson our Governor should heed. You should be able to count on your friends to tell you the truth, even when it hurts. And if you find yourself firing people because Taylor and Borchers don't have thick enough skin to handle a debate, maybe Taylor and Borchers aren't actually your friends.

This story has legs friends. Stay tuned. Anderson has yet to release his documents verifying his statements, however I suspect those are forthcoming. Meanwhile, Taylor is sitting pretty at the Kansas Lottery, prepared to eventually collect a full pension from the state of Kansas. And members of the Kansas Legislature are quaking in fear about how they're going to fill anticipated budget shortfalls.

One hot mess coming right up.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Uh. Wut, Johnson County?

Johnson County is doing something really weird.

The county is hosting a free Cyber Security Conference and Expo on Oct. 6, because it's Cyber Safety Month or something.

According to a press release, this is an "annual" event. I'm kind of confused. I'm fairly tuned in to these sorts of things, and I've never heard of the annual Cyber Security Conference and Expo, and I'm baffled at how teaching "the public about staying safe in Cyberspace," as the press release suggests, is the government's job or interest. 

The expo will feature Steve Seigler, the deputy chief information officer for operations for Missouri and Gene Turner. Turner is a certified identity theft risk management specialist who "mixes in some sleight of hand tricks and comedy with his expertise." I'm tempted to go see Turner's presentation, because that sounds hilarious, in a ridiculous way.

Usually, when a government does something like this -- hosts some weird group for some strange purpose -- there's a point. Usually the point is a quiet initiative to spend more taxpayer money on something in the future. For example, a sudden health expo that focuses on exercise will morph into a "need" for more county funded trails or parks. But this cyberspace thing? I am completely lost.

What am I missing? 

Anyway, if you're so inclined the big event is 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 6 at the county administration building in Olathe. Free registration includes breakfast and lunch, so it may be worth a day just for the free food.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Backbones vs jelly spines

Good news. John Boehner is leaving Congress. 

This is kind of epic for Kansas' Congressional delegation. Shortly after Boehner announced that he will be stepping down and out, Rep. Tim Huelskamp tweeted that the establishment lost. There's no love lost between Kansas' plucky Huelskamp and the Orange One. Huelskamp was removed from committee assignments for not kissing Boehner's ring. 

Meanwhile, Rep. Lynn Jenkins is a member of House leadership. For reasons I'll never understand, she repeatedly allows herself to be photographed next to Boehner. She gave a very warm statement about how Boehner's meteoric rise from son of a bar owner to Congress is apple pie -- or some similar nonsense. (I think it unwise to even hint about booze and Boehner in the same sentence, but that's how Jenkins wished him farewell.) 

In typical Kevin Yoder fashion, he crafted a statement that said less than nothing. Yoder: Boehner is leaving. Congress still exists. Thank you for your time.

Rep. Mike Pompeo's statement was wiser, I think. He at least attempted to put a tiny bit of distance between himself the BIGGEST CRYBABY IN WASHINGTON. 

"While the Speaker and I sometimes disagreed on tactics, no one can question his commitment to making America a better place. I thank him for his service to our country, and I wish him all the best in the future.”

Honestly, the best response to the news that Boehner is leaving was probably not saying anything at all. So, way to go Yoder. Your statement was pretty close to that. Nice work.

The race for a new speaker begins now, just as Congress is AIR QUOTE "working" to avoid a government shutdown. (wink.) I can't even fathom what kind of wrench this throws into that mess, but I have a feeling Boehner's sudden move at this intense time was a little back stabby. 

I have no kind words for alcoholics, men (or women, really) who cry constantly, or people who "grow" in office. Boehner is the trifecta.

The people who will vote on Boehner's replacement are Republican members of the House. I do not think much of their collective integrity, wits, thoughtfulness, logic, loyalty, patriotism, sanity, logic, etc. I don't trust any solution that group of half wits comes up with.

They say the devil you know is better than the devil you don't. And yet, I am going to celebrate Boehner's departure, anyway. I will be watching our Kansas delegations' tea leaves. I sincerely hope our fearsome foursome votes for the most conservative, principled replacement. Jury is still out who that may be.

P.S. Sens. Moran and Roberts, please work on ridding us of that other pox on our nation, Mitch McConnell. 

P.P.S. Former Sen. Bob Dole said some stuff about it, too. My head is exploding. 

It's like Dole has something against grace and maturity. Also, he apparently thinks we, the little people, want or need his input. The hubris. Stuff a sock in it, already. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Democrat Playbook. Sigh.

Democrats have a playbook with two cards in it -- the race card and the War on Women card. Why aren't they sick of those cards? And why can't they ever, ever give others the benefit of the doubt? Seriously, who has the time to go around offended at EVERYTHING anyone says and to assume the absolute worst in every perceived look or comment?

So, the Kansas Democrat Executive Director, Kerry Gooch, took the opportunity to tweet things that offended him at the Kansas State Fair. Because you know who hangs out at the Kansas State Fair -- hillbillies! Racists! Dehumanizing cow pluggers!

One person said to him: "You speak well for a colored person." 

Tacky and tasteless, but I am almost certain the (probably ancient) person who said it was attempting to compliment Gooch. Was it politically correct? Of course not, but the other party of the conversation was making an attempt. Dear Kerry, if you want to make a difference, you sometimes have to take steps toward the other person. 

I'm not blaming you, Kerry. It took me years, YEARS, to learn this lesson, and I regularly fail at it by assuming the worst when I should give the other person the chance to do better. Educate. Don't belittle. Kerry had that opportunity and he failed at the state fair.

That poor, likely just misunderstood, fairgoer now has every excuse in the world to avoid speaking to another black person. What's the point if anything he(she?) says can be misconstrued as evil and racist. I recognize the embarrassingly wrong thing that person said, but this sounds like a person making an effort. Not someone trying to belittle or demean. Gooch's response was to belittle and embarrass and bemoan on Twitter. He said it was to educate the masses that we still have work to do. Well, Gooch was presented with an opportunity to educate one person. Instead, he chose to make that one person look bad publicly and in the process somehow cast that one person's questionable mindset on the whole of Kansas.

And then someone asked Gooch, why does Obama hate white people so much? Stupid question, of course, but not necessarily racist, anymore than someone asking why does Ben Carson hate Muslims so much. Whether it was racist depends completely on whether the statement was based on the color of Obama's skin or his policies. 

In my mind, a better question would be: Why does Obama hate blacks so much? That's not based on racism. That's based on statistics from the Census Bureau. Like this:

• The poverty rate among American blacks has increased sharply during Obama's time in office, from 12 percent in 2008 to 16.1 percent in 2014.

• Median income for American blacks dropped 10.9 percent in black households. (It only dropped 3.6 percent in white households).

• In education, blacks are falling further behind their white counterparts under Obama's leadership. The average gap in fourth-grade math scores increased by 40 points!! since Obama took office.

Kerry had the opportunity to touch individual hearts and minds at the Kansas State Fair. Instead, he opted to rub peoples' noses in it. 

It's a disappointing choice -- not just because that seems to be ALL the Democrats do -- but also, because I want Kansas and Kansans to be the best they can be. Some of those people may have benefited from a heart-to-heart with Gooch. But he chose to flash it all over Twitter and therefore Kansas newspapers, painting my beloved Live and Let Live State as a racist corner of the world. Some of Gooch's reaction was likely based on youth as much as his political affiliation. Here's hoping he's wiser next time.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Shocker. Star editorial misses the point

This is going to come as a surprise, so before you read this, please make sure you're sitting down. Here goes: The Star is suggesting in an editorial that Kansas public schools are destitute. School districts can barely keep the lights on, let alone pay staff or educate THE CHILDREN. The CHILDREN are suffering.

And Brownback is mean. Sniff. Sniff. He and his staff are lobbing "grenades" at the public school establishment. I drove by one local school building this morning, and all that remained where it once stood was a smoking hole in the ground -- such is the devastation wrought by Brownback and his war mongering staff. Just kidding. The school is still there. So is a brand new playground, and the local teachers are getting a pretty decent raise -- bigger than the one I received. (Mental note: Must work harder at pretending to be overworked and underpaid. Also, must hire a lobbyist to help make my case. Should lobby for summers off and a month at Christmas.)

Just in case you were worried about THE CHILDREN, I would like to make it clear that no weapons have actually been fired, launched or lobbed at any actual school buildings. Whew.

No, Brownback's war crime against school districts comes in the form of emails from a woman who was in college last week. "People who disagree with (Brownback's school funding) assessment stand a chance of getting blasted in a group email sent to Brownback supporters, by Melika Willoughby..." the Star bemoans.

I don't know how the Brownback team sleeps at night. Seriously I don't. They send "missives" in emails about "ever-litigating" school district attorneys. 

Oh for heaven's sakes. I've written about these spam emails before. They read like a college newspaper piece. I'm certain that bitter Star editorialists are the only people who read through the entire thing. They're too long, and honestly, too boring, despite the Star editorial board's claims that the spams are somehow weaponized.

The editorial says Brownback is also making the controversial suggestion that perhaps maybe, quite possibly, teachers should receive pay based on merit, rather than on how much they can receive by whining the loudest. I'm sorry. That's the least controversial thing in the history of the world. You know who else receives pay based on merit: ALMOST EVERY OTHER PROFESSION IN THE INDUSTRIALIZED WORLD. 

The editorial quotes some superintendent whining (shock, I know) that she has never experienced educators in Kansas "so undervalued by legislators and the governor."

I can't take it. The reverence with which the public is supposed to hold for teachers is just too much. If the governor suggests anything other than paying teachers what Chiefs players make, the Whining Whiners Who Whine complain that they're being "undervalued." Heaven forbid the market make some determination about an individual teacher's worth. They're all saints and we should bow before them. Kiss the ring. End of story. 

And then the Star rehashes an old supposed slight: getting rid of tenure. You know who else doesn't have perfect job security: ALMOST EVERY OTHER PROFESSION IN THE INDUSTRIALIZED WORLD. 

The editorial comes complete with a graph suggesting that despite additional public school funding, a smaller percentage of the funds is making its way into the classroom. You know who gets to decide what funds go where under the current block grant system? Your local school administrators and school boards. 

The Star's ire is not just ridiculous. It's misplaced. Shocker.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Eww, John Kasich

Well this is unfortunate. It appears John Kasich, Ohio Govenor and GOP Establishment Hack, has paid to be included in the Kansas Caucus on March 5.

 This is barf worthy. This probably means Kasich isn't going to drop out any time soon. His campaign paid $15,000 to be included in the caucus -- the first GOP campaign to do so. The Kansas Caucus is still almost six months away.

It's going to be hard to listen to the garbage that comes out of that stupid guy's face for another five-plus months. But it appears there's no way around it.


Don't KS Dems have something better to do?

GOP Presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson is going to be in Kansas today for a small fundraiser, which is of course, driving the Kansas Democrats into a frenzy of stupid.

They've issued a press release blasting Carson for opposing a federal minimum wage increase and Medicaid expansion.

"Kansas doesn't need any more extremism," the Kansas Dem statement reads.

It's a pretty paltry attempt to tarnish a decent man, which I note, so far, no one has found a single bad thing to say about him. 

Some have said he's soft on the Second Amendment, but otherwise, by most all accounts, he's a decent, honorable man. Surely the Kansas Democrats have better things to do -- like cleaning up their own mess -- rather than blasting a good man for having the audacity to visit the Sunflower State.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Canfield dislikes God, err, Bibles, and Kobach

To the people who booed God, I'm sure someone carrying a Bible or talking about what's inside its pages at work is just short of a high crime. (Democrats are the party that booed God, after all.)

Now they've taken their show on the road. This time, it's one Courtney Canfield, who is suing the Kansas Secretary of State's Office because there are Christians who work there. And sometimes, they talk about being Christians, and other times, the Christians in the office pray and have Bible study. (Also, she was canned. She says it's for not attending Bible study, but it appears lots of people who didn't attend the Bible study continue to be employed in the office.)

Last Friday, the Secretary of State's office admitted that Bible studies did in fact take place there. Staff members were not required to attend or take part. 

In a sane world, that would be enough. But that's not the world we live in. We live in the world of the perpetually offended Whining Whiners Who Whine™ and they would like to see all Bibles burned and practicing Christians put into re-education camps.

Americans for Separation of Church and State is not impressed. Vickie Stangle, president of the local chapter, told an Associated Press reporter that Bible studies in the workplace cross the line.

"I look at these places as places we are conducting business, and they are not supposed to be houses of worship, and yet it seems to be happening more and more under the guise of so-called religious freedom," she said.

I have to wonder if she would be half as upset if the Secretary of State's Office offered to take a few bucks a month out of its staff paychecks to give to the United Way in exchange for allowing blue jean Friday. Would that be just as offensive or coercive? (Wait. I know this one. Answer, yes, but no one cares because the United Way gives money to Planned Parentood, so it's totally fine.) Or what if office staff organized a golf outing? Is that a lawsuit waiting to happen since I don't golf? (And the one time I did, I was a real embarrassment.)

Stangle said the practice of being Christian in public creates the perception that government is promoting and endorsing religion and that employees feel peer pressure to participate even if they are not required. To which I say, if state employees haven't grown up enough to not be peer pressured, that's their problem. 

I have felt subtle peer pressure to give to United Way. Fridays are awkward when everyone else is in jeans and I'm dressed like a professional. And when someone asks me why I don't give to United Way, I simply tell them. No harm. No foul. 

But let's be honest about this Canfield lawsuit. It's one of three things: Bitterness about being fired, or just another attempt to embarrass the Secretary of State's office, or a combination of the two.

As I wrote previously, I can't imagine Canfield winning anything but 15 minutes of fame with this lawsuit.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Dems have hate-on for Kobach

The Kansas Dems are seeking "disenfranchised" voters to fill the voter rolls, according to Kerry Gooch, the Kansas Democrat Executive Director. (And I'll just leave this little note here, while we're on the topic. Gooch is a young black man that the Democrats are paying approximately half of what they paid the last KS Dem Executive Director. Make of that what you will.)

Gooch announced in a release that the Dems are "launching a grassroots effort to counter Kobach's attack."

By "Kobach's attack" I think they mean Secretary of State Kris Kobach's effort to ensure that all of the voters on Kansas' rolls are U.S. citizens. According to the fundraising release, the Dems are implementing a statewide plan to register more voters than ever before.

Um. No conservative* is going to have a problem with that in the least -- assuming all of these un-registered people are eligible to vote in our elections in the first place. 

The Kansas Dems really have a hate-on for the Secretary of State. I suspect it's jealousy. He's handsome, well-spoken, conservative, educated, electable, passionate and smart.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.
(Dems, let me help you! You, too, can be like Kobach. Start by getting a haircut.)

Color me surprised that the Dems hope to find some non-citizens to cast ballots in the next election.

 * I may be the one exception to that. If you're too stupid or busy to register to vote, you're probably too vapid or self-involved to understand or follow the issues. Those types are doing the right thing by leaving the messy business of voting to the adults.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Clowns plop tent at Kobach's feet

It's always a clown show with these people. (And it's not even GOOD clowns -- It's always the bad scary kind.) They can't just go and ask questions and have a respectful conversation.

Always, always clowns. Always.

I speak, of course, of liberals everywhere. Perhaps nowhere is this side show phenomenon more evident than on college campuses.

The clowns brought their side show to the University of Kansas Law School where Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a former law professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and Mark Johnson, KU law professor, debated voter ID.

I love the idea of this event -- two smart people present their evidence to an audience of bright, open-minded folks who are willing to listen to the debate. 

But that's not what happened. The liberal Kris Kobach detractors arrived with signs created by some third graders. The libs made desperate pleas for attention and as you can see from the photo below, the cameras tuned to their desperation.

Notice the sane people attempting to watch the debate.

This is par for the course. Wherever Dems are rallied to a cause, they turn it into a drum circle of weird and inappropriate. See Occupy Wall Street. Or see Melissa Harris Perry, wearing tampons on her head.

A liberal pundit. Wearing tampons. Because ovaries or something.
And then locally, we have these people, Women for Kansas.

This is my favorite picture ever.
Can we please stop pretending these folks are to be taken seriously? Seriously.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Deserved honor? I'm not there on Eisenhower. Sorry

What has two thumbs and is about to post something politically incorrect? This girl.

I know I'm not supposed to say this, but why does former President Dwight D. Eisenhower deserve a monument in Washington, D.C.? 

There's a whole host of really likeable pleasant people, including Sen. Pat Roberts and Rep. Todd Tiahrt as well as other Kansans, like backstabber Nancy Kassebaum and Sen. Bob Dole and the awesome and esteemed Gen. Dick Myers, working to build a national monument to the late President. There's even an executive staff working on this project. PEOPLE ARE BEING PAID (probably by donations, but still) to rally the troops in support of a monument to a guy who maybe doesn't quite meet the criteria for such an honor.

I feel terrible saying this, but I don't think we should be building monuments to just any former President. Just because Eisenhower is Kansas' favorite son and a former President and a revered General, I don't see how that translates into a place of honor beside Jefferson, Lincoln and Washington. 

I'm a horrible bad person, I know. But sincerely, what did Eisenhower do to deserve such a distinction?

This group of memorialists would like to create a four-acre park dedicated to showcasing Eisenhower's feats as the Supreme Allied Commander during World War II and his presidency.

Yes, Eisenhower helped defeat the greatest threat the world had ever known at that time. I have nothing but admiration for the things he did as a General during WWII. That said, if he's to be so honored, I would propose it makes more sense that he be somehow commemorated in a small way as part of the World War II veterans memorial rather than a monument and memorial in his name alone. As much as I esteem his service and his efforts, Eisenhower didn't win WWII on his own. 

I don't think we want to be mucking up the Capitol for every former President. All Kansans like Ike, this one included. But heaven forbid, every state decide their favorite son deserves a similar honor. Can you imagine if Georgians ever decided President Jimmy Carter was worthy of such a thing? Or worse, the people of Arkansas suddenly decide their guy is worthy.

Anyway, prepare yourselves Kansans. There's about to be an onslaught of public relations -- starting with a Bob Dole and Pat Roberts appearance on Greta VanSustern -- about how great Ike was. You may be wanting to jump on that bandwagon, but before you do, please, please consider exactly who and why and where we honor certain individuals with monuments. 

Maybe as this public relations wagon is wheeled out, I'll change my mind. I'm doing my best to keep it open, but for now, from where I sit, Eisenhower simply is not a Washington, a Jefferson or a Lincoln. 

The Orange one works for Jenkins

That's word from a Fair Tax rally Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins and Jerry Moran sponsored in Wichita last week. 

Jenkins is now apparently walking back a statement she made at the event. She told supporters, "I just want you all to know, I don't work for John Boehner. He works for me."
That's not a spray tan. It's liver damage.

I've long said that Jenkins being photographed next to that crying orange wasn't going to do her political career any favors.

And I think she knows it now, too. It's no secret in Kansas GOP circles that Jenkins isn't a Boehner fan boy. She once told a small gathering that she would not have voted for him for speaker had an alternative been offered well in advance of the first attempted coup.

There was a weak attempt to ouster Boehner from the speaker's job after the last election. It failed miserably. It was last minute, and even now, I'm having trouble coming up with the name put forward. The last-minute replacement candidate, old What's His Name, was not a good choice. 

Jenkins told people at the KS GOP Convention, shortly after Boehner was re-elected to the speakership, that she'd already promised her vote to Boehner by that time and had spent some time campaigning on his behalf for the role. Though it was a difficult vote that rankled her supporters, Jenkins said the alternative wasn't a realistic candidate and she'd already given her word. Someone asked why she hadn't decided to run for the job herself -- she said she'd already been running for Vice Chair.

I can almost, kind of, sort of live with it -- not that I have a whole lot of choice. I don't live in Jenkins' district.

Meanwhile, there are again attempts to remove John Boehner as Speaker of the House. Thank heavens. He's so embarrassing, and he's a drunk, and he (obviously) spends too much time in the tanning bed, and he's a cries all.of.the.time. Basically, he's everything a man shouldn't be. Barf.

I don't know that Jenkins' comment was accurate -- the idea that Boehner works for her -- but I am disappointed that she's walking it back. He's a tool, and his days are numbered.

Two days ago, reports surfaced that there's another attempt 
to ouster Boehner.  (This is on the heels of a million similar reports that surfaced off and on all summer long.)

And the not-so-well-kept secret rumor about Boehner's drinking is reaching a fever pitch.

As I wrote back in 2012, Jenkins should duck out of those photo ops with Boehner. I don't see how standing next to that guy as he drives the country off the fiscal precipice gets Jenkins anywhere but on fire at the bottom of a cliff.

Read more here: http://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article33303969.html#storylink=cpyAs I said back in 2012, Jenkins should duck out of those photos with Boehner. I don't see how sitting next to that bawl baby orange guy as he drives off the fiscal cliff gets Jenkins anywhere but on fire at the bottom of a precipice. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

So John Brown's Ghost rides again

Update: This guy claims to be John Brown's Ghost.  If true, I never saw that one coming. Lives in Wichita. Apparently works on aircraft and likes community theater.

Back in 2013, the Topeka Capital Journal outed Tyler Longpine as the tweeter known as @JohnBrownsGhost.

Longpine was a staff member of then House Majority Minority Leader Paul Davis, and so he issued an apology for saying not-so-nice things on Twitter. As I said at the time, the anonymous John Brown's Ghost account had approximately a dozen followers, and as there are a total of 5 Democrats in Kansas, it wasn't all that surprising that the then-anonymous tweeter was the staff of a Kansas Democrat. Five Democrats -- approximately 6 Democrat jobs in the state. You do the math.

Anyway, after Longpine's apology, the Twitter account went dark until June 2015. It's back under new management. It continues to be snarky and anonymous. I am too lazy to do try to determine if it is in fact Tyler Longpine back again. (Check and direct it. Let's begin.)

I have a short list of who I think is now running the @JohnBrownsGhost account, assuming Longpine did give up the ghost.

Longpine now serves as the state legislative director for the Teamsters. My short list includes: Levi Henry and Aaron Estabrook. (Suspects dwindling based on Twitter refutes.) Colin Curtis was also on my list until I learned he'd moved to Maryland. (Update: For what it's worth: @LeviHenry calls my suspicion, "stupidity," which is totally possible, I guess.)

For what it's worth, I don't really care who is running the account. Twitter is pretty useless for political discourse or turning the herd. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Brownback Administration confuses... Again

You can lead a Governor to common sense, but you can’t make him partake. 

I've tried. (They kind of listened.) But seriously, before issuing that next press release, phone a friend. 


I don’t mean to pile on Gov. Sam Brownback. He takes enough heat without little ol’ Gidget adding to it. And yet, it’s so hard to watch the bumbling and just stay quiet.

I want to help. Really, I do.

So, last week, in a typical end-of-the-month bungling, the revenue department announced that revenues again fell short of expectations. This is becoming a monthly event. The press office issues an excuse. The media wails. School children starve. The Whining Whiners Who Whine™ whine. Morons post stupid things on Facebook. Rinse. Cycle. Repeat.

This month, sales tax receipts grew by 3.9 percent, but were $3.2 million short of expectations.

First, it’s as if no one in the Brownback Administration – budget office – has ever worked in the service industry. Anyone who has ever worked as hostess in a restaurant can tell you: Under promise and over deliver. Who is making these terrible, inaccurate budget predictions and why? Are we really stunned every single month?

This time, the excuse is that the state paid out $22.3 million in unanticipated refunds in August. Why weren’t they anticipated? Truly, this is confusing to me.

My suspicion is that when it’s time to draft a budget, legislators are terrified of being reasonable. By that, I mean, they feel obligated to budget more money than they take in. I don’t get it.

It’s also worth noting that despite the claims that Kansas is just completely broke – we are still taking in more money month over month than we did last year. Revenues just aren’t meeting expectations.

Basically, we over budgeted.   

And by we, I mean the legislature over budgeted. I’m not going to talk down to my brilliant audience by indicating that the legislature did this without Brownback’s permission. Still, why didn’t the Brownback Administration focus on the fact that month-over-month revenues are higher this year than last year. Why do they always lead with… welp, we’re short. 


Are they actively seeking throat punches from Kansas City Star editorial writers?