Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): August 2015

Monday, August 31, 2015

Youth being young and simple

I wrote this post once and deleted it. It was a touch too mean to the Kansas Federation of College Republicans. (BTW, is this a new thing? I don't think this was a thing when I was in college.)

So, the Kansas Federation of Young Republicans was hoping to get their names in the newspaper -- err, in the Huffington Post -- and so they used the time-honored Republican tradition of adopting a leftist cause in order to secure some media time. 

As usual, it worked like a charm. It's the same media prowess used by Nancy Kassebaum, the backstabber former Representative and the Republicans for Common Sense.  Whenever they want to make a desperate cry for relevance, they run to the nearest newspaper/radio/television office or studio and talk about how the Republicans have gone too far right on <insert issue here>.

So, the young Republicans have chosen their battle: the death penalty. In a unanimous vote, the youngsters have passed a resolution calling for the repeal of the death penalty.

It smacks of youth, being well, naive youthful. 

As an aside, I am personally opposed to the death penalty. I believe judgments on life and death belong to God. However, and this is where the youth have things all messed up, the death penalty is a bad priority.

 It's difficult for me to waste my time and resources on people who have committed murder when there are actual innocents by the thousands being slaughtered each day in abortion clinics. Did the young GOPers also pass a resolution seeking to end federal funding to Planned Parenthood?

And if caring for prisoners is of such high priority, why aren't they calling for improvements to our prisons themselves? It is an abomination that rape frequently occurs in prisons so much so that it is the norm and expected. That's unacceptable. 

The youngsters who voted on this resolution didn't think very deeply about the topic at hand. This, by the way, is typically how liberals think. They think-- everyone should have health insurance, but then they don't take it one step further and ask who is going to pay for it or they don't think about the reality that health insurance doesn't necessarily mean healthcare. Liberals just don't think their positions all the way through.

There really is no such thing as life in prison. Some liberal bleeding heart always comes along and advocates for letting the bad guys out of jail. (See Tookie.) I absolutely believe in redemption, even for people who have done the worst things imaginable, but once you've killed another human in cold blood, you've abdicated your right to ever walk among the rest of us again. Until there is a way to absolutely ensure that no liberal is going to just start letting murderers out of jail (for a quick weekend, ahem, Dukakis) or for good, I can't in good conscience make repealing the death penalty a priority.

Youth gotta youth, I guess. But, dear young ones, please don't be surprised when the adults don't take you seriously.

Swinging some questions around about Harold Lane

I did some asking around today about state Rep. Harold Lane. Lane, you'll recall -- or maybe you won't because it's barely been reported -- is the Democratic state representative who has an account on Ashley Madison, the adultery-seeking match making service.

The Cap-J discovered that Lane had account there, and then proceeded to ask Lane hard-hitting questions like, what's your favorite color? Do you like puppies? Do you sometimes use your state email address to swap forwards with your friends?

It was an awful story, in which the Cap J kind of mentioned off-hand Lane's Ashley Madison account so they could write an entire story about how people with state email addresses aren't supposed to be using them to cheat on their spouses. (Shame on Brownback for not policing state email addresses, better?? I think that was the point of the story.)

So I asked around. I was curious, was anyone surprised that Lane, married 42 years, was actively seeking a mistress? I got the same answer over and over and over again. Nope. 

And they shared another rumor that is just too salacious to share here.  Absolutely no one was surprised that Lane was looking to fill his dance card with another woman.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Head scratching Steve Rose column

Steve Rose has a head-scratching column in the Kansas City Star, in which he laps backhanded praise on Gov. Sam Brownback.

In the column, Rose basically writes: Some people like Gov. Brownback and think he's doing a good job. Jury's still out, but I am going to take five minutes away from my liberal boot-licking schedule to mention it.

I don't get the column. Is it a desperate cry for relevance? Is Rose hoping to get a gig with Brownback if Brownback lands his own dream job of federal cabinet member Secretary of Whatever is Available? 

Color me confused. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Democratic state rep loves Ashley (Madison)

So a Democratic state lawmaker was seeking kicks on Ashley Madison, the adultery website.

I, for one, am shocked that there's a cheating Democrat in Kansas. Just kidding. 

Harold Lane represents Topeka in the Kansas House. He's been married (unhappily?) for 42 years.

He admits that the email address on the Ashley Madison website is his, but says he just doesn't ever remember visiting that site. 

Yeah right.

You know if Lane were a Republican, there would be NO escaping this story. You'd turn on KCTV 5 and it'd be non-stop coverage. The Lawrence Journal-World would track down his wife and children and publicly shame them. There would be hourly calls for his resignation.

But since Lane is a Democrat, the Topeka Cap-J wrote one lonely story, which somehow managed to drag Brownback public affairs people through the gutter. Typical.

So a Rock Chalk Hypocrite Walks into a Bar

If Art Hall can't hide his emails in a quest for academic freedom, then that guy who wants to shoot the children of NRA activists shouldn't be allowed to either. 

You remember David Guth, right? The crazy-eyed University of Kansas journalism professor who tweeted about killing the kids of NRA members? 

He was loudly celebrated by KU faculty and insane liberals everywhere. He was briefly suspended. He didn't lose his job. I don't even think he lost any pay. It's only a matter of time before Rolling Stone or some other respected media outlet tabloid offers him an award.

Alas, there's a horrible double standard in academia. Your rights to freedom of speech and academic freedom depend on what you say. A group of faculty members says Art Hall, a business professor and former Koch economic advisor, doesn't deserve the same academic freedom to his own emails as other professors.

A liberal student group, Students for a Sustainable Future, made an open records request for some of Professor Hall's emails.  (This open records request, if granted, would likely have required printing copious amounts of emails on dead tree. Appalling.) Anyway, professor's emails are sometimes protected from open records requests because of academic freedom. (Or something. Seriously, there's a loophole to keep every kind of communication in the dark. Just ask Hilary Clinton.) Hall sued the university saying his emails should be protected, and a group of professors jumped to the student group's defense. 

Oh, this academic group of ninnies couches its objections to Hall's emails remaining private by calling Hall an administrator and not a professor. It's intellectually dishonest, but what's really important to this faculty group is that Art Hall, a conservative, doesn't receive the same rights and defenses as liberal faculty. That's the bottom line here.

There's a double standard in academia, and having the "wrong" opinion will be punished whenever, wherever and however possible. 

The Hall case was to be tried in November, but Hall and Students for Making Life a Living Hell for Conservatives settled on Friday. Under terms of the agreement, Hall released about a dozen emails and the SMLLHC were to withdraw the open records request.

Any parent considering sending their child to the Wheat Waving School of Liberal Indoctrination should carefully consider how impressionable their child is before allowing him or her to set foot in Lawrence. If your child isn't able to listen to continual, non-stop liberal craziness without being brainwashed, send him or here elsewhere.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Gross, K.Yo.

Rep. Kevin Yoder is going to host an event with Yasmina Vinci, the Executive Director of the National Head Start Association,  community leaders and local parents.

"As a vocal advocate for the Head Start Program, Representative Yoder invited Ms. Vinci to the Third District to see firsthand how the program benefits local children and to work on solutions to ensure Head Start remains effective and viable for another 50 years," the announcement reads.

Ew, K.Yo. Gross.

Since 1965, U.S. taxpayers have dumped more than $180 million billion into Head Start programs. And you know what we have to show for it?

Well, Head Start gave K.Yo an award that the Congressman insists on bragging about. Other than that? Crickets.

Head Start has notoriously wasted billions. The program, which was designed to give pre-kindergarten students a "head start" on education has had little or no impact on the "cognitive, emotional, health or parenting practice of participants." What little educational outcome gains the program achieves are erased by the second half of first grade, according to a report released in 2012.

So, Head Start and K.Yo will meet and discuss the glamorous goal of giving children a head start on government indoctrination. The Early Childhood Education Community Forum on Aug. 31 starts at 9:15 a.m. The barf-inducing event will be at the Growing Futures Early Education Center, 8155 Santa Fe Drive in Overland Park.

Meanwhile, as K.Yo's press people were announcing his event, the Kansas Policy Institute released its response to a Garden City Telegram opinion piece pining for universal preschool for all Kansas 4-year-olds. 

Why stop at sending kids to indoctrination camps at 4 years-old? Why not at 3 years? Six months? Universal access to professional potty training? 

KPI notes that Oklahoma, where kids suffer in universal preschool, has not seen positive results from its "experiment" on Sooner State children. 

Please, K.Yo, let's stop pandering to the slobbering masses and make decisions based on results -- not emotion. This Yoder event: Yuck. Yuck. Yuck.

PP research draws obvious, irrelevant conclusion

So Planned Parenthood has issued a scathing letter and report to the members of Congress saying a study that PP commissioned determined the Center for Medical Progress videos were intended to "smear" Planned Parenthood.

Did PP U.S. taxpayers actually pay for that study?

Of course the videos were intended to "smear" Planned Parenthood. The organization's primary role is barbaric. The video -- and I don't care how it's "edited" -- clearly shows Planned Parenthood technicians sifting through body parts and laughing about a baby human, a boy. 

Not one person has claimed that what the videos show did not actually occur. No, everything in the videos actually occurred. Every rotten, ill-conceived word out of every Planned Parenthood operative's mouth was actually said. It was not taken out of context, though I will fully admit -- no study needed -- that there is some dark and haunting background music in the videos. There are cuts away from some of the vulgarities to show text of federal laws, which make the suggestion that Planned Parenthood is doing something illegal.

Here's the thing: I don't care whether it's technically or actually legal. It's disgusting and vulgar and unconscionable. If it isn't already illegal, it should be. Oh, and I WOULD RATHER NOT PAY FOR IT. I would also like to not pay for stupid, pointless studies on PP's behalf.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Kansas Dems implode. Part 9,261 of 1.5 million (and counting)

Oh, Kansas Dems. If you were an actual, individual person, I would bake you a casserole or give you a ham. You guys keep having a funeral for your brand, and then perform some weird seance to resurrect the losing brand from the carcass's ashes. 

I don't have to go back very far to rehash the harrowing tale that is today's Kansas Democrat Party. 

Remember when the communications director was canned for calling certain Kansas towns "crapholes?" It wasn't quite a flatline for the party, but certainly a low point.

Remember how the state of the Democratic machine in Kansas was so bad that the Dems resorted to running an independent in the race for U.S. Senate? Despite a record of massive campaign donations to Democrats, Greg Orman tried to pretend, unsuccessfully, that he wasn't a real Democrat. He did so by ignoring the most virulent lefties of the Dem Party.

Remember when the Dems managed to bungle the 2014 elections? Despite polls within the margin of error, gubernatorial candidate Paul Davis lost in epic style. He lost Johnson County! I didn't see that one coming. 

Remember how the Dems wanted Dennis McKinney to serve as chair of the party and how McKinney basically said, sorry no thanks, you guys are out of touch?

And then remember how the Dems elected Larry Meeker, a former mayor of Lake Quivira (one of the whitest, most elitest cities in the state, but I digress) to serve as chair?

And then recall last week, how Meeker suggested that Democrats may consider "rebranding" the Democratic Party in Kansas to better reflect actual Kansans? 

The leftiest lefties of the Kansas Democratic Party were outraged. Fast forward to last weekend, when the Dems hosted a drum circle in Wichita. There, Meeker resigned via email over his totally reasonable suggestion that maybe, quite possibly, if Kansas Democrats ever hope to win again in Kansas, they should consider moving to the right just a sliver -- not a lot mind you -- but just enough to allow sane people an opportunity to buy into their craziness.

I am baffled by the Kansas Democrats. Flabbergasted. Stunned. It's like they actively hope to continue losing, and losing big. Meeker simply said Kansas Democrats are more conservative than their national counterparts. And for this, the guy is branded as persona non grata. It's ironic that Meeker's strategy to rebrand ever-so-slightly to the right was no different than the Orman campaign's strategy to run as an independent. And you'll note the Kansas Democrats disenfranchised their own primary voters to give Orman a clearer shot at the Senate seat. (And to Orman's credit, that race was closer than it ever should have been. Though Orman didn't win the Senate seat, he scared the Republicans so much that the national party and its offshoots were spending money on a race in red Kansas, where they otherwise would have been spending resources elsewhere.)

Some woman from Manhattan, Kansas, will now run the party in the interim, and Democrats will commence their search for a party savior. Good luck with that. If the five remaining Kansas Democrats truly think their messages of teaching kindergartners the importance of fellatio and selling baby parts while forcing every single member of the general public to pay for it is a winning strategy in Kansas, they need more help than any mere human can provide. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Yael figures out what I told you last week. Peterson wins.

Way to go, Republican members of the Johnson County Board of Commissioners. 

Yael Alayabaybah is congratulating Ed Peterson on his big win. Yeah, Peterson isn't on the county commission anymore, but the commission just passed all of his ideas wrapped in a giant PORK burrito of a budget.

I ain't mad at ya, Yael, for attempting to steal my thunder. I'll just say, noted. And shaking my fist at Ed Eilert, the supposed Republican chair of the board of commissioners.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Dems rebrand

Approximately all six of the Kansas Democrats are meeting in
Wichita this weekend: The goal? To "solve the problems in our state." That's according to Kerry Gooch, Kansas Democrat Executive Director.

The Dems will host special guest Pratt Wiley -- never heard of him either -- but apparently, Wiley is the Director of Voter Protection/Expansion for the Democratic National Committee. During his luncheon keynote address, he'll tell tales about the eeeevil Kris Kobach and Sam Brownback.

Apparently one thing the Dems won't be doing when they gather at the Wichita Marriott: changing the state party's name to Red State Democrats.

The Pitch Weekly published an article (this morning? yesterday? Can't find it now!) suggesting the name change was on the table. The KC Star has cleared that one up. Instead, the Kansas Dems are "rebranding."

May I suggest "rebranding" that eliminates most of the Democrats' baffling positions on, well, pretty much everything and replaces those platform positions with common sense proposals like being good stewards of existing public funds, not sticking knives in the backs of unwanted baby's heads, advocating for working people to keep more of the money they earn, less regulation, more freedom... I'm just spit balling.

DemFest 2015 begins on Aug. 21 and runs through Aug. 22. Confirmed attendees include Paul Davis, Kerry Gooch and Pratt Wiley. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Not buying it, Courtney

It's just so hip these days to complain about Republicans in Kansas. Such is the case of Courtney Canfield and her lawsuit against the Kansas Secretary of State's Office.

Canfield is alleging in a lawsuit that Deputy Secretary of State Eric Rucker canned her for refusing to attend church. (By the way, Canfield says she's a Methodist. I do not know why this is relevant.)

No one with any sense should believe this story. I don't know Rucker personally, but he's a lawyer and I've seen no evidence that he's a moron. This means he's far, far too smart to fire someone and then tell others that he did it because she refused to attend a religious service. 

My crystal ball says this is a ridiculous suit. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Take heart, pro lifers. We will win this.

Good news, pro lifers. Not only are we on the right side of history, but the culture is definitely going to move in our favor. Because science. Or math. (Also, because God, but I'm trying to put this in terms that even liberals can understand.) Take your pick.

Despite a recent poll that revealed approximately 70 percent of Americans have not even heard of the Center for Medical Progress videos, (they're game changers, BTW), the science, math, history and of course, God are on our side. We are not defeated.

History is written by the winners, and we're going to win this abortion debate. Take heart.

Most scientists say life begins at conception. (And by "most," I mean most scientists -- at least the honest ones -- leave a little room for doubt. There is no such thing as "settled science" despite what climate changers and evolutionary biologists say. Part of the scientific process is questioning, questioning, but I digress.) Some language splicing scientists will claim that life is a continuum (uh, duh.) and so it's impossible to name its beginning, and then these scientists go on to list puberty as one of the points at which life may begin. I don't want to touch where that logic takes us. (OK, fine. Ovens full of teenagers, I guess.)

Once and ovum and sperm connect the continuum is set in motion. That cannot be denied. The ovum and sperm, once joined, contain all the data necessary to create a unique human. So far, no joining of human ovum and sperm has resulted in anything other than a human. But don't just take it from me -- even the textbooks say so.

"Although life is a continuous process, fertilization is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed.... The combination of 23 chromosomes present in each pronucleus results in 46 chromosomes in the zygote. Thus the diploid number is restored and the embryonic genome is formed. The embryo now exists as a genetic unity." (O'Rahily, Ronan, Miller & Fabiola. (1996). Human Embryology & Teratology.)

And then there's this: "Almost all higher animals start their lives from a single cell, the fertilized ovum (zygote)... The time of fertilization represents the starting point in the life history, or ontogeny, of the individual." (Carlson, B. (1996). Patten's Foundations of Embryology. 6th ed. McGraw-Hill.

We have more than science on our side. Obviously, God is on our side (who can be against us?) 

"Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee; and before though calmest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." -- Jeremiah 1:5 KJV

"And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:" Luke 1:41 KJV

And then this partial list: Psalm 139:13-16; Luke 1:44; Exodus 21:22-25; Psalm 127:3. 

And lest anyone think God is A-OK with throwing away the disabled: Exodus 4:11 says "And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?"

God isn't a good argument when you're dealing with people whose hearts have been hardened, but take heart, friends. Our side still wins, because math and demographics.

Approximately one-third of Gen X and one-third of Millenials are missing. Among those generations, abortion robbed us of about 30 percent of our cohorts. Those of us who remain, our mothers chose life, and many of those mothers passed that message down to us. (The mothers who didn't chose life are going to have some challenges passing the pro-abortion message to the next generation, because many of them don't exist!) Pro-lifers are the breeders, and mathematically, this means we eventually win this. 

Even the most ardent abortion advocates are beginning to realize this simple fact. Young adults are more likely than their older counterparts to believe that abortion should be illegal in all circumstances, and the number of those choosing abortions has been plummeting. We can thank science for some of that -- those 3-D ultrasounds make it difficult to view a pregnancy as a "parasitic lump," as Gloria Steinem once deemed a fetus.

Youth, whose mothers chose life, just aren't down with the pro-abortion struggle. From the NYT: 
"We worry about that a lot," said Sally Burgess, executive director of the Hope clinic, who is also chairwoman of the National Abortion Federation, the main professional support group for abortion providers. "Younger women have always had access to abortion care, they don’t fully appreciate the battle that was fought to have it available to them. And more important, I don’t think they know how precarious the option is at this point, even with Obama's election."..."What I observe for women in their 20s and 30s — there are fewer who really have the fire in the belly for this,” she said. At 50, Ms. Burgess is the youngest member of the Hope clinic’s leadership team, which includes Ms. Baker; Debbie Wiehardt, 57, the office supervisor; and the two doctors performing abortions (the only men on the 30-person staff), who are both in their 60s. A recent survey of 273 abortion clinics published in the journal Contraception found that 64 percent of their doctors were at least 50 years old, and 62 percent were men."

Legal abortion will end someday, and hopefully, soon. Let's all hope that it meets a peaceful demise. I continually worry that President Abraham Lincoln's second Inuagural Address is accurate -- that sometimes God requires blood sacrifice for societal ills.

"Yet if God wills that (war, bloodshed) continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's 250 years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said 3,000 years ago, so it must be said, "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Somewhere Ed Peterson is smiling

Congratulations, citizens of Johnson County. You're getting a tax increase -- a giant one. 

As anticipated, a majority of commissioners voted to sock-it-to taxpayers. Voting in support of the tax increase were commissioners Jim Allen, Steve Klika, Ron Shaffer, and Ed Eilert (pictured).

Remember that race for county commission chair in 2014? Remember the primary that pitted Patricia Lightner, Ed Eilert and Ed Peterson against one another for chair of the county?

The bulk of Democrat Ed Peterson's campaign was a push for higher taxes. When he announced he would run for county chair, Peterson said county government was choosing to settle for less by not increasing taxes. 

"We have hundreds of acres of parkland that county residents cannot enjoy because we have not developed it," Peterson said at the time. "Our popular library system has had to reduce hours. We retreated from a transit plan just as it produced an increase in ridership."

Eilert campaigned on maintaining the status quo. His campaign basically asserted that the sun is shining here in the Golden Ghetto. No need to change course. 

Patricia Lightner's campaign suggested as chair Lightner would go one step further than maintaining the status quo and seek budget constraints whenever possible.

In a primary that narrowed the field, Peterson -- the most liberal of the three -- was eliminated. 

Unfortunately, Eilert won the chairmanship in November, and he's used it to do exactly the things the biggest loser Peterson campaigned on.

Johnson County residents are now slapped with an almost 14 percent tax increase, courtesy of Eilert and the board. The extra funds will bolster county reserves and parks and library expansions. These new taxes do not sunset, though county commissioners can, but probably never will, inch the tax rate lower in the future.

There are conservatives on the commission. John Toplikar, Michael Ashcraft and Jason Osterhaus voted against the gut-punch 2016 budget and tax increase. 

It's frustrating that none of the three can carry the conservative message in a way that resonates in any actionable way with voters or with other commissioners. I can guarantee you Eilert and liberal Steve Klika rallied their supporters to the podium. Their supporters -- most library and parks staffers/board members -- attended budget meetings and advocated as members of the public for the tax increase.

This is so often the problem with conservative elected officials. WE suck at rallying the people in meaningful ways beyond the ballot booth. Don't get me wrong, the ballot box matters immensely, but if our wins there never or rarely result in conservative policy, what's the point? 

I never worry about how John Toplikar is going to vote. He may be the only politician, in which I agree with every single vote he's ever taken, but when he takes to the dias to advocate his position, I shudder. He's not eloquent. He's doesn't sound passionate. He stutters and stumbles his way to making a point, and it's awful to watch. I hate saying this, because as I said, I agree with every single vote he's taken. But I now question whether it would be more useful to have someone who votes (the way I consider) wrong every so often, but does a better job of rallying the troops.

Ashcraft is mostly conservative. Some of his votes have been nutso. (He argued for funding parks improvements once with debt rather than reserves, despite more than adequate reserves, due to low interest rates. Uh yeah. That's so not Dave Ramsey.) But he doesn't carry a conservative message very well either. He's too busy trying to sound smart and reasoned. Nothing wrong with smart or reasoned, but rallying the troops requires passion -- and preferably a dose of reasoning too. He doesn't have passion in a way that translates to the general public. He may vote right often, but he doesn't advocate well.

Osterhaus voted correctly this time. He doesn't always. He's "growing" in office, which means he licks Ed Eilert's boots about 60 percent of the time. Also, I have yet to hear him passionately advocate for his position on anything. 

This commission looks 180 degrees different with Lightner as chair. The county doesn't own King Louie. Homeowners -- and commercial property owners, everyone forgets them -- don't get hit with a whopping 14 percent tax increase. Barring the ability to get a conservative majority, conservatives need to find candidates for these offices that can rally the base. These candidates need to be able to advocate for their positions in ways that may occassionally persuade other commissioners and that will definitely bring conservatives to meetings when necessary.

That may be a pipe dream.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Moran v. Wolf

This is going to be painful.

Milton Wolf confronted Sen. Jerry Moran during a town hall meeting in Wamego earlier this week. I was not there, but you can read about it and see excerpts:

Milton Wolf Confronts Sen. Jerry Moran In Possible GOP Primary Preview [VIDEO] -- Daily Caller

Milton Wolf, audience on hand, confronts Sen. Jerry Moran at town hall -- Topeka Capitol-Journal

Former candidate Milton Wolf confronts U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran at town hall -- Wichita Eagle

Wolf warned his followers that this was going to occur. I don't really mind the public confrontation and I appreciate that both men seemed calm and collected throughout.

In fact, I would say Sen. Moran handled it with grace and good humor, during the actual confrontation. 

And then the circus music started playing: Wolf told reporters that he wore his boots because he knew, "it was going to get kind of deep in there when Sen. Moran started answering these questions."

So, he dressed up in costume to make a point? The wearing of boots and that comment: Very stage-y. You know who else does that?

Moran didn't help his cause following the event either. His campaign released a pretty nasty response:

While all Kansans are welcome to attend Sen. Moran's town hall meetings, Dr. Wolf created a sideshow today by using the meeting as a platform to discuss his previous political efforts and related conspiracy theories. Unfortunately, his bizarre interruption took time away from other Kansans who came to ask questions and share concerns.
I don't like it.  First, it suggests that Wolf doesn't really have the right to ask questions at a Moran town hall. I disagree. Wolf, whether Moran likes his questioning or not, is a constituent with the same rights as every other Kansan. And let's not pretend that there isn't at least one person at every town hall who takes up far more than their fair share of time asking questions or giving soliloquies. 

And here's a tip for Moran's people: You should never follow-up on someone who attempts to score political points while standing in your spotlight. Your continued response gives the other person, in this case, Wolf, additional importance. Not responding is a very good and reasonable way to simply say, I'm above this. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Moran hosts tax forum

Sen. Jerry Moran is hosting a Fair Tax Forum next week in Olathe. Kansas Rep. John Rubin of Shawnee will be there as will Steven Hayes, chairman and president of Americans for Fair Taxation. 

Here's the deets: 

What:    Forum on U.S. Tax Reform hosted by U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Americans for Fair Taxation

Who:     U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.)
Kansas Rep. John Rubin (R-Shawnee)
Americans for Fair Taxation Chairman and President Steven Hayes
Kansas FairTax Board Representatives
When:   Monday, Aug. 17
6 p.m. – Doors open
                 6:30 p.m.  – Opening remarks by Sen. Moran

Where:  Olathe Community Center
1205 E. Kansas City Road
Olathe, KS 66061

Unpacking Wolf's suitcase of grievances

I'd rather not unpack Milton Wolf's suitcase of grievances against the Kansas GOP. I'd rather toss it off the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge, but that's a long flight. It's a proverbial suitcase, and I can't afford assless chaps -- the uniform of choice in San Fran.

I suppose that means we must take out our dirty laundry and hang it out to dry. Or fold it. Or wash it. Either way, we have to talk about it. As I said last week, I wish we could just forget it, but that's obviously not happening.

Wolf alleges that a government employee violated the law with suspicious timing to the benefit of Sen. Pat Roberts. Kansas law prohibits Kansas Board of Healing Arts from divulging information about its investigations, but employee Dan Riley confirmed for the Cap-J an investigation against Wolf for the x-ray scandal. (I can't rehash it here. Too long. Too old. Too overdone. And Wolf was exonerated.)

Unless the Cap-J lied about its source, which is totally possible but unlikely, then Wolf clearly has a case. The Cap J did report a confirmation from Riley. I don't understand why Wolf has chosen to take blogging action rather than legal action. But OK.

Second, Wolf alleges that board of healing arts member Anne Hodgdon knew about the x-rays for more than a year before doing anything about it. Wolf questions the timing. Yes, the timing of the investigation is suspect, but again, this is politics. Not a friendly game of Yahtzee. I'm not saying politics should be dirty. I'm simply saying they are, have been as long as I've been paying attention, and probably will be forever and ever. Politics are the realm of humans, and we suck, especially when it comes to the quest for power or money.

Sure, let's fight to change that, but let's be realistic and reasonable. I fail to see how calling Anne Hodgdon the "Lois Lerner of Kansas" is a useful or wise way to clean up politics. Shine the light, Wolf, but don't crawl into the gutter.

And then Wolf's web release rehashes a lot of nasty Twitter posts from Hodgdon. I've gotta believe she isn't particularly happy with the nature of those posts, and I'm not excusing it. I am, again, saying that politics is a nasty business, and a LOT of people got far too emotionally involved in the Wolf-Roberts race. I truly hope we can stop the blood-letting eventually. It wasn't the Kansas GOP's finest moment. (Primaries -- a necessary and often too nasty evil.) 

I find the Hodgdon's church tweets egregious. I don't know when Wolf joined a church, but if he attends one and says he is faithful, I am going to buy that story and give him (or anyone else) the benefit of the doubt until they tell or show me otherwise. Wolf hasn't done anything that would lead me to believe his faith is fake. He's imperfect, sure. But um. So are all Christians. That's why we need a Savior.

Wolf does make a very good point about the fact that there is no legislative oversight of the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts. How many other unelected boards in Kansas are filled with appointments making policy with the potential to use their position against citizens? I just wish Wolf would focus more on where we go from here rather than rehashing perceived slights.

Wolf's web release also does a fine job of painting Sen. Jerry Moran and Gov. Sam Brownback with a dirty brush. He connects the dots between the Roberts' campaign, the Governor and Moran. (Dear Wolf press people, maybe separate ALL of those points out instead of one giant screed. Your point, which I think is that Hodgdon and the board behaved unethically and immorally gets a little lost with all the stuff about Moran running the NRSC. I suspect the frequent mentions of Moran as a BAD GUY are because Wolf intends to run against Moran next year.)

For what it's worth, I thought the Republican Establishment in general behaved abominably during that primary election. They did not treat Wolf well and I fully understand and appreciate why he's holding onto the anger. 

But climbing into the gutter doesn't make me think better of Wolf. It makes me wish we had better choices -- candidates who can somehow rise about the mud-slinging. Does such a thing exist? Is it even possible to get elected without toiling in the garbage? One can dream.


What will follow is the evidence, in the central players’ own words, that will establish three main facts: (1) A government employee violated the law with incredibly suspicious timing such that it benefited a politician. (2) A  government official who was a major donor before being appointed to a powerful Board position lied about evidence in a legal case before her own agency and then destroyed electronic records to cover her tracks. And, (3) the career politicians whose actions set these events into motion benefited. - See more at: http://www.miltonwolf.com/weaponizing-the-government/#sthash.JaJkWxCA.dpuf

What will follow is the evidence, in the central players’ own words, that will establish three main facts: (1) A government employee violated the law with incredibly suspicious timing such that it benefited a politician. (2) A  government official who was a major donor before being appointed to a powerful Board position lied about evidence in a legal case before her own agency and then destroyed electronic records to cover her tracks. And, (3) the career politicians whose actions set these events into motion benefited. - See more at: http://www.miltonwolf.com/weaponizing-the-government/#sthash.JaJkWxCA.dpuf
(I hate Wolf's website. It won't allow me to copy and paste, and then it shows up somewhere weird later and I can't get rid of it. So pardon the website address, which is probably going to show up somewhere on this page and make a few sentences difficult to read.)

Nice try, Cap-J.

Gov. Sam Brownback has a ne'er-do-well relative. I myself am stunned. Just kidding.

The only thing surprising about this story from last weekend's Topeka Cap-J is that it took professional journalists in Kansas so long to dig it up. 

Raise your hand if you didn't know Brownback had a backwoods brother in the rural hills of Kansas. If you don't have your hand in the air, I have to wonder under which rock you've been sleeping. 

To recap: Brownback's brother, Jim Brownback, has a stepdaughter who, in 2011, owned a dog that mauled hogs on a neighboring farm. Jim said he didn't know who owned the dog and said it should be shot. 

The neighborhood spat somehow turned into the Hatfields and McCoys, with Jim Brownback and his children accused of a rein of terror which included stealing a mailbox and firing window-rattling "explosives" on his own property. The worst accusation: a Labrador retriever was killed, and the neighboring property owners accused the members of Brownback brother's clan.

Honestly, I think the story is supposed to be some form of damaging narrative, but it's super difficult to follow. I still can't figure out what happened to the original dog, which, incidentally, is one of the only characters in this story I care about.

Jim Brownback's neighbor attempted to get justice, but it was denied when the evidence was lost. The story suggests that Jim uses his brother's name to escape the law and that the justice system lost evidence that would have convicted Jim Brownback of something. Of what, I'm still not clear -- harassment? Dog killing? Trespassing? Being un-neighborly?

The Governor's office declined to be interviewed for the story, and really, who can blame Sam? Oh wait, numbnuts like the Kansas City Star's Barb Shelly who wrote in an opinion piece that the Governor owes the people of Kansas some sort of explanation. Poor Shelly. It must be difficult to be so mental. She writes:

Sorry, but that doesn’t work. The governor isn’t responsible for the actions of a brother described as a “black sheep” in an otherwise respected family. But he doesn’t get to hide and act like it’s none of his business that a family member is terrorizing Kansas citizens.
This makes no sense at all. Why should the Governor be asked to explain his relations? Who among us doesn't have a few embarrassing relatives? (I imagine if your hometown is Parker, Kan., you probably have more than one. I don't think the Parker folks take too kindly to outsiders.) 

While we're on the topic of embarrassing relations, let's unpack what's occurred in Parker: First, it's possible, as the story suggests, Jim Brownback goes around daring people to mess with him using his last name as some sort of battle cry. That doesn't mean Sam Brownback has ever suggested to Jim or anyone else that the Governor's office would protect Jim. Second, that doesn't mean that law enforcement still isn't a little more reserved in their efforts where Jim Brownback is concerned. Not because Sam ever told them to be that way. That's kind of human nature.

Also, we are talking about Appalachian-style law enforcement, which in my experience is very hands-off, very let-the-people-handle-it-themselves. They don't get too involved until they start finding bodies in barrels. 

I'm not saying Jim Brownback is a stand-up guy. I'm simply saying there's not a whole lot Sam Brownback can do about his ne'er-do-well brother. His brother is going to Jim just like Sam is going to Sam and no amount of stiff talking-to is going to change that. 

Obviously, this story was a desperate attempt by the media to throw shade at Sam Brownback. They are terrible at it if this is the best they could do, especially since I knew about the never-do-well relative a lifetime ago. If everyone in Kansas is six degrees from Kevin Bacon, everyone in Kansas is less than one degree from Sam and Jim Brownback. Did no newspapers/news stations/opposition researchers ever visit Parker? I didn't even have to go there to learn about Jim the Embarrassment. I am baffled that it took the liberal media this long to learn that worst-kept secret. Stunned.


Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/barbara-shelly/article30611604.html#storylink=cpy

Monday, August 10, 2015

Not so fast, my friends

So, I know we're supposed to be all bent out of shape about a Facebook effort from GameOn Kansas Schools. This drum circle started in Prairie Village, so the looniest land in all of Johnson County. 

At some point this weekend, this group of leftist hippies took a break from blocking chicken joints and in their neighborhoods to post to Facebook inquiring where Kansas legislators send their kids to school. 

Cue the flying monkeys. 

Grassroots conservatives are upset that this group wants to somehow target children to advance their message or something. Conservatives are calling it "threatening."

I really don't read it that way. I don't really like to give anyone in politics the benefit of the doubt, and I certainly don't like to give liberals the benefit of the doubt. However, I understood the call to action to mean GameOn (SUCH a stupid group name) is seeking general information -- not specific. It sounds like they're asking for their supporters to report whether their legislators' children attend public, private or homeschool. 

And I know I risk being skewered and burned at the stake, but I think that's a relevant question. Personally, I think it will backfire on the GameOn folks -- not because the topic is out of bounds, but because the vast majority of legislators' kids attend public schools. And the few who home school or send their kids to private schools are clearly smarter than those who don't. It's a point in their favor.

If GameOn is truly seeking to intimidate children or to somehow threaten, I take this post all back. But I just don't read it that way.

It doesn't make sense for conservatives to pretend that family situations are off-limits. They aren't. Or shouldn't be. I'm never going to support Newt Gingrich or Bill Clinton for local dog watcher or anything else, because of their family situations. How a person runs his or her household typically paints a very clear picture of what he or she values. It's relevant. If you can't keep promises to your family, I don't know how we, the people, can trust you to keep promises to us.

How legislators educate their children is relevant. I think it's relevant when Barack Obama rips school vouchers out of the hands of poor children while sending his own kids to the poshest of elite private schools. 

If GameOn starts mentioning specific schools or children or addresses, then by all means, get indignant. But until then? I think the anger on the part of conservatives is misplaced. Sorry friends.

Side note: I know this and this happened. I'll unpack these today or tomorrow. Must now do the kind of work that pays the bills.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Least favorite email of the week: Spam from the Gov

Every Friday afternoon, my inbox fills with emails from Kansas Republicans, and as sure as Mars follows Earth around the sun, there's always at least one from the Governor's Deputy Director of Communication.

I do not understand how the Governor's office thinks this is useful. I've written about it before here. Anyway, the email typically addresses one subject and then cheerleads the Governor's response.

It's the strangest public relations move probably in the known universe, but for now, I'll just say it's the strangest public relations move in the western hemisphere. (Benefit of the doubt and all that.)

First, a disclaimer: I do not have a doctorate in public relations. So take what I'm saying with a hefty grain of sodium chloride.

This week's letter is an opinion piece is about Kansas' response to Obama's Clean Power Plan. That's about as far as I got in the email. 

I receive a LOT of emails and e-newsletters. It's a popular and useful marketing device, but they are much more successful when the e-newsletters include short bursts of information rather than long (BORING) screeds. Gidget's tip: If you're going to blast people with unrequested information (and you want people to actually read it), make it entertaining. 

Good hair in my inbox weekly
I also receive the Kansas GOP e-newsletter each week. I read the entire thing. Takes me approximately three minutes. It's typically short bursts, including a brief update from Chairman Kelly Arnold, about insider-y things.  This week's e-newsletter had a few links about yesterday's debate, a few photos and some information about the state committee meeting last week and links to all of the Republican presidential candidates' web pages. Good information, brief, and some handy links. I welcome it in my inbox.

The weekly opinion piece from the Governor's office -- not so much. Seriously, I don't get the point. I suspect the goal of the email is to go around the media -- it's a way to take it to the people rather than filter it through the media. And I get it. But typically by the time I receive the email, the information is old. I've seen the press release and news reports. My inbox is already pretty full. If the Governor's Office is bent on sending an opinion piece each week, make it worth my while to read. Entertain me and inform and if you don't have anyone on staff capable of such a feat, then keep it brief. Hit the highlights, give me some links and sign off. 

On a final note, I think it would play better if the email to "grassroots" people came from the Governor. I'm typically left wondering why should I care what random Governor's staff member thinks, especially since I have to believe it was vetted by the Governor's top people. Just seems disingenuous.


About last night

So, debates this early don't actually matter. A gaggle of "experts" at The Washington Post reported yesterday:

To sum up, we found that the running theory on debates’ effect on the polls is probably right: A massive majority showed almost no change or changes within standard polling margins of error.
And I'm not a big fan of declaring winners and losers. One man's loser is another man's winner. So I won't do that. I won't tell you who I think "won" or who "lost." But I can say who I think gained supporters and who probably lost support.

As I hoped yesterday, Carly Fiorina likely made major gains from her brief time at the Happy Hour debate, err, kiddie table. She was awesome. 

Unfortunately stupid Bill Hemmer (swoon, usually) and Martha McCallum spent half of the short debate asking all of the candidates about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. I would much rather hear about their own ideas -- not their take on other people as individuals. 

It's difficult to pick my favorite Carly moment. I loved this: "The potential of this nation and too many Americans is being crushed by the weight, the power, the cost, the complexity, the ineptitude, the corruption of the federal government." 

Obviously, this is a very Republican thing to say and not all that special of a comment. However, when Carly says it as opposed to Insert Politician Here it bares special notice. She isn't a politician and hasn't been her whole life. She has worked in the private sector almost exclusively. When she says it, it's personal. When John Kasich says it, it's just rhetoric. When has John Kasich or Rick Santorum EVER had to deal with the crushing weight of the bureaucracy when trying to accomplish something in the private sector? I'm going with probably never -- not even once.

And then she absolutely killed it in a post-debate interview with Chris Matthews. She would mop the floor with Hillary Clinton in a debate. 

My bias is for anyone who has actually worked in the private sector. Professional politicians and the professional campaign/political staff has NO idea what actually goes on out here. Truly, they don't. 

John Kasich may have gained fans coming off this debate. I know my Democrat friends liked him best. I'm not sure how that helps Kasich win a Republican primary, but... that's what I'm hearing from the loony left.

Meanwhile, most of my Republican friends appreciated their guy most. The Rand fans still liked Rand, though I thought he came off a bit brash and harsh. I also figured he would have the easiest time distinguishing himself from other candidates.  I don't think he accomplished that.

The Ben Carson fans continue to be Ben Carson fans. (He's got a lot of detractors, too.) I am a fan of anyone who hasn't spent a lifetime in politics. I am not sure, however, that a surgeon has the experience necessary to run the executive branch. He's got a lot of fans, and I think that's because people are hungering for the non-politician.

Marco Rubio and Scott Walker fans continue to be fans of their guy. I guess that means they didn't hurt themselves, but I don't think they gained new supporters either.

I have trouble believing Chris Christie and Jeb Bush actually gained supporters. I'm not willing to say they lost them, but then I'm continually baffled to learn that they have any supporters to begin with.

I think Huckabee, who makes my stomach turn, actually won some fans. I am basing this on the comments of some of my GOP friends. I can't look at Huckabee without feeling a little sick. I will never forget how he lost a bunch of weight and then all of a sudden decided to become the Michelle Obama of Arkansas (before there was a Michelle Obama of America.) He all of a sudden wanted to regulate the food on people's plates from the Arkansas Govneror's mansion. Not cool. 

But people who have had conversions are typically the most outspoken advocates for their new way of life. Which brings me to Donald Trump, who I suspect lost supporters after last night's showing.

Trump is a recent convert to conservatism. He's recently become pro-life. In the late '90s, this is a guy who said he wouldn't even ban partial birth abortion. Speaking of the '90s, remember that awesome time when Trump supported a one-time 14.25 percent tax on individuals and trusts to pay off the national debt? Those were good times. In 2000, he opposed the flat tax. In 2011, he supported the Bush tax cuts and then proposed a tax bracket system with rates between 1 percent and 15 percent that eliminated corporate income and income taxes. He's also had a conversion on the Second Amendment. He was for waiting periods, background checks and assault weapon bans before he was against them. He was an advocate for universal healthcare, and he's been squishy on the topic ever since. He favored privatizing Social Security until 2011 when he suggested the U.S. should not make any adjustments to the system. And of course, he's only recently switched his voter registration from Democrat to Republican, though he tried to explain that during last night's debate.

Sometimes the newly-converted are the very best advocates. My trouble is I don't actually believe Trump's conservative conversion is sincere. It seems like political pandering, and most people watching last night's performance probably drew the same conclusion.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Tonight's debates

Some of my least favorite candidates will take the state during prime time.

Some of my favorites will be on stage earlier -- Fiorina, Jindal, and Perry. I don't think Jindal can win. Too short. I liked Perry better last time. I hope the debate raises Fiorina's presidential stock.

This keeps me awake at night

"If the Civil War was God’s divine judgment for slavery, as Lincoln thought, and God used it to avenge the innocent blood of slaves, what does judgment look like for 57 million babies being slaughtered in this nation alone since 1973?"

Will Ford, author of "Created for Influence: Transforming Culture from Where You Are," writes in this post that he has lost friends, family and supporters because of his vocal, adamant advocacy for life.

"But if I used whatever bit of eloquence God has given me to speak and write, and not carry out the assignment God has given me, then all I’d be doing is gathering up wood, hay and stubble to be burned before our Master Jesus Christ at my day of reckoning."

Everything else in this post is worth reading as well. The basic message: Despite the intense warfare, do not stay silent.

Non-mystery solved! Moran is in

Sen. Jerry Moran will seek re-election in 2016. Not that we didn't know it anyway, but for those wondering: Moran is raising funds and has apparently identified county chairs for his re-election campaign.

The Moran campaign announcement doesn't include the names of these chairs, so I guess we're going to have to take Moran's word for it. Of the 105 chairs, the release says more than a dozen are former and current local elected officials. Others come from a wide variety of industries including health care, pharmacy, education, agriculture, aviation and banking.

He does mention names in Kansas' most important counties. Johnson County Co-Chair is Peggy Dunn. (Meh.) Bob Dool will serve as Sedgwick County Chair. Joe Patton will chair Shawnee County efforts.

The release also gives a nod to out-there Kansas. Mary Soukup is Ellsworth County Chair. 

If re-elected, this will be Moran's second term in the Senate. Prior to entering "public service" Moran was an attorney. (Puke.) He served eight years in the Kansas Senate. In 1996, he was elected to the U.S. Congress, representing the Big First. And of course, the wounds from his 2010 primary election against Todd Tiahrt for the U.S. Senate have yet to heal. Moran is quickly approaching the outer limits of how long it is acceptable to stay in Washington. 

Perhaps most damagingly, Moran chaired the National Republican Senatorial Committee from 2012-2014. Some would call this an advantage. Under his tenure, the Republicans added 9 Senators, giving the GOP its largest majority since 2006. There's blood on Moran's hands for the way some of those seats were earned. (See Thad Cochran's Mississippi race for the Senate, a truly shameful chapter in Republican history.) And then there's the actual effort of this so-called Republican majority in the U.S. Senate. I'm going to call it a bust. Is that Moran's fault? He definitely gets a share of the blame. 

I haven't heard of anyone planning to run against Moran. He will be incredibly difficult to beat. You can't swing an elbow in Kansas without hitting Jerry Moran. To his credit, he is always here, always available.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Your Commissioners want YOU -- to pay more

 Good to know I'm not the only one bemoaning the Johnson County Board of Commissioners' proposed slap in the face, err, tax increase. 

Americans for Prosperity-Kansas has decided to rally its troops. I just received an email urging me to call or email my county commissioner and tell him I don't want a tax increase. 

Consider it done, AFP-KS. You know who SHOULD hear from Republicans? Ed Eilert and Jason Osterhaus. We probably don't have to worry about how Michael Ashcraft and John Toplikar will vote. They'll get it right. Commissioners Steve Klika and Jim Allen  will get it wrong. No question. Ron Shaffer probably will, too, but his stint on the commission is so short, I hate to make a bad assumption based solely on his performance as Prairie Village Mayor.

While we're on the topic: Any Johnson County Republicans who publicly supported Eilert over Patricia Lightner for county chair in the last election should be shamed, loudly and often. (Ahem. Jason Osterhaus.) You know what we don't own if Lightner is chair of the commission? King Louie.

And while it makes me uncomfortable to say this, it may be time for Osterhaus to seek a role outside of public service. Many of his commission votes of late have been, well, liberal-leaning. He's "growing in office," and conservatives should be terrified. 

Anyway, here's the AFP-KS email campaign:

 Johnson County has already budgeted for a property valuation increase of 6.25%. Now, the Johnson County Commission is considering raising the mill levy by 6.79% to raise an additional $13.7 million in new taxes. 

That's a tax hike of more than 13% in just one year.

County officials have claimed that without a mill levy increase, county services will have to be cut. This does just not add up.

The proposed 2016 budget will increase County spending more than $28 million (4%) over last year. Without the $13.7 million from a tax hike, the county could still increase spending $18.5 million (2%)...without any cuts in services or a mill levy hike. 

Johnson County doesn't have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem. 2% growth in a single year is plenty.

Johnson County Commissioners will vote on the proposed budget Thursday, August 13th. We encourage you to let your Commissioner know what your thoughts about the mill levy hike, and your priorities for government services.

Please click the button here to contact your commissioners, and let them know you don't want a tax increase.
Clicking the button allows you to send a form letter. I suggest a personal email will be more effective. 

Here, you can find links to your commissioners' email address. You can also click on their names above and send an email. If you  haven't already voiced your displeasure at their suggestion that a 14 percent tax increase is warranted, do it now. They vote on Aug. 13.