Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): July 2016

Friday, July 29, 2016

Is Dr. Marshall Pro Abortion? This Clinic PAC Says Yes then NO.

Update: Minutes after creating this post, the link was broken and a new voter guide appeared at the Trust Women website. The new guide calls Marshall, "anti-choice." Below, you'll find a screenshot of the previous voter guide. I also managed to track down the original download. Here is a link to the original. (It's a link I made of a download. So it's a copy of what I initially saw.)

The original link was at http://www.itrustwomen.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/2016-Trust-Women-Primary-Voter-Guide.pdf. 

The second link (now dead) simply added a '1.' 

http://www.itrustwomen.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/2016-Trust-Women-Primary-Voter-Guide1.pdf. The second link called Marshall, "anti-choice."  

There is no longer any mention of a Trust Women voter guide (that I can find) on the organization's website. 

I guess it's possible that Trust Women made a huge mistake the first time, corrected it a second time and then took it down when they realized that most Kansas voters are revolted by pro abortion candidates, and the group's endorsements were damaging the candidates they intended to help. It's also possible, but I think unlikely that some campaign, campaign staff, or supporters somehow hacked and doctored that organization's website to spread false information. I doubt it and here's why: I saw the links live on the Trust Women website. That's quite a hack job, and it would require more than just Photoshop skills.

Second, to my knowledge, Trust Women has issued no press releases explaining either their mistake in calling Marshall 'pro-choice' or reason for changing the voter guide and then deleting it.

At this late hour in intense campaigns, it's very difficult to separate fact from fiction. I do  my best. Perhaps I got it all wrong, but I really don't think so.

You'll have to make that determination on your own.

Dear Pro-Life Voters in the Big 1st--

According to Trust Women, a PAC connected to the clinic that was once Kansas' most notorious third-trimester abortion house of horrors, physician Roger Marshall is NOT pro life.

Marshall campaigns otherwise. On a campaign website, Marshall lists himself as a staunchly pro-life candidate who "will oppose any efforts ever to use taxpayer funding for abortions."

That's not the story Trust Women is selling. The clinic's foundation, according to its website is a "leading pro-choice and reproductive justice foundation based in Wichita, Kansas." It's "about us" section is signed by Dr. Julie Burkhard, the abortion provider who replaced the late Dr. George Tiller. 

The organization boasts a network of physicians across the country willing to perform abortions. 

"Many clinics in smaller or hostile markets rely on doctors who travel to clinics to provide care...We help clinics and physicians fight legal challenges, provide them with messaging, communications and advertising support and help with administrative staff support... We use a door-to-door program to identify supporters in our area. One of our biggest challenges is finding new voices in these communities. Face-to-face outreach is the most effective way to garner new support...we create and implement a community outreach through events, phone banking and canvassing in all the communities in which we do work." 

Handily, the Clinic PAC has created a voter guide so voters can choose the candidates most likely to continue the vile practice of ripping innocents from their mothers' wombs. 

There's an awful lot to swallow in this voter guide. First, the guide describes other organizations it uses to craft its voter guide.

So about Kansas National Education Association--you know, that lovely organization dedicated to THE CHILDREN? The abortion foundation says, "KNEA is typically aligned with Trust Women and the pro-choice stance." 

Conservatives have always known this fact, but it's nice to see someone actually admit it. They're for educating children, but ONLY the children who make it through the birth canal intact. Noted.

Second, and of critical importance to Big First voters, the PAC lists Obstetrician Dr. Roger Marshall as "pro-choice." Seriously, it's right there in bold letters. Don't take my word for it. You can read the entire thing here for yourself.

As you do that, please Big First voters, consider that in Congressman Tim Huelskamp, you have a proven pro-life conservative. In Roger Marshall, you have a guy who says he's pro-life, and a PAC dedicated to increasing access to abortions--a PAC that specifically works with doctors--calling Marshall, "pro-choice."

This late in the game, it's difficult to know who and what to trust. You've got one candidate you know you can trust on this issue, and a question mark. Mark your ballots accordingly.

Thoughts on KS JoCo House Campaign Finance Reports

Looking through Kansas House campaign finance reports, I’m mostly just confused.

Honestly, the big money in the Johnson County races appears to be related to liquor laws, construction, and of course, the Kansas NEA—teachers union, donated to quite a few races. The teachers and contractors are big government types. If you see KNEA or the Heavy Contractors or a lot of construction companies listed on a campaign finance report, you can bet these folks are supporting massive tax increases.

The liquor money is trickier. HyVee donated quite a bit this cycle. The grocery chain, based in Iowa, wants to sell liquor in its stores. UnCork is advocating for looser liquor laws as well. Meanwhile, groups like the Association for Liquor Laws are advocating for the status quo. These donors didn’t appear to donate along ideological lines. Craig McPherson and Mitra Templin don’t strike me as birds of a feather.

One thing almost all media is ignoring in its coverage of the political race for cash is that money raised this period is only part of the picture. So, while Yael and others are reporting that challengers or so-called moderates are winning the campaign finance race, he ignores that most incumbents started with substantial war chests. Take for example the race in the 8th District. The seat is currently held by Craig McPherson. He raised more than $4,300 this period while his primary challenger Patty Markley raised $22,700. At first glance, it looks like she outraised him almost 4-to-1. In reality, McPherson started with $28,000. Perhaps he spent more time campaigning and a lot less time attempting to raise money this period than Markley did.

You can read campaign finance reports for yourself here.

Of interest:
  •  Of Johnson County House incumbents, Erin Davis raised more than anyone else. She was outraised this period by quite a few challengers in other districts. In her own race for the 15th District, she outraised her opponents by a healthy amount.
  • In the 43rd District, my home district, the challenger Don Roberts raised a ton of money from very few donors. Specifically, he raised almost $15,000 from a variety of addresses for Riley Entertainment. This outfit owns sports bars and pubs. Most notably in the JO, they own Saints bars. Overall, he raised $22,000 this period to add to the $15,000 he raised in the prior period. That’s an awful lot of money for my little district in the poorest part of Johnson County. I can’t help but wonder what on earth they want. I do not trust this filing. I do not trust this candidate. That said, I’m not voting for the other guy either. When you hang with a bunch of people who literally brag about shooting stray, friendly dogs that wander into their yards, sorry, I just can’t. There's a lot more to it than that, but not all of it is fit for publication! Bill Sutton, the incumbent, raised $4,900 this filing period and started with $4,600. Though he’s been outspent and out raised, I still think Sutton wins. Whichever candidate takes the race will do it without my vote.
  •  Owen Donohoe, a former state Representative challenging incumbent Charles Macheers in the 39th District , appears to be self-financing. Donohoe has written checks worth $20,000 to his own campaign.  Macheers started with $18,000 and raised $8,100 this filing period. There’s a third candidate in this race; it’s one of those teacher-y, spend-more-money types. She raised more than $10,000.
  •  Off topic, but I can’t believe Republicans couldn’t find someone to run against Nancy Lusk, a Democrat running unopposed in the 22nd.
  •  It doesn’t cost much to be a player in Kansas politics. If you’re a private individual looking to buy access, I recommend donating $200 to 5 candidates per cycle. That’s $1,000 every two years, or $500 per year.

Stop Telling Girls They Need Hillary to Follow Their Dreams

Moms, if your daughter didn't think she could be President before Hillary Clinton won the Democrat nomination, you're doing it wrong. That's your fault.

It took me a few days to put my finger on why all of the "glass ceiling shattered" posts just rubbed me so wrong. And I woke up with the answer this morning: Parents, it's your job to raise strong, confident sons and daughters.

When I was a kid, a biracial child in Kansas in the early 1980s, I told people I was going to be President. I haven't wanted the job since about third grade, but as a woman and a  minority, it never crossed my mind that I couldn't be anything I wanted to be, including President of the United States. I understood that becoming President meant working hard, getting good grades, and chasing my dreams. What other people thought I could do or couldn't do never entered the equation. 

If you're telling your kids they have to wait until society or someone gives them permission, you're raising a child who probably isn't equipped to become President in the first place. 

And all of these posts and the commentary about the glass ceiling being shattered are telling children that they somehow need everyone else's permission to follow their dreams. 

We should be telling our children they can be anything they want to be if they put their minds to it and work hard. And when they are discouraged, we should tell them there will be set backs, but keep working at it. 

It's lovely to have a mentor or to see your dreams in action in someone else. However, there might not be a mentor at the top of the ladder offering you a hand, and that's OK. You can make your way up the ladder yourself, especially when you know you've got friends and family and supporters cheering you on down below.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

A Guest Poster Notes that Yael Has Been Cleared for Light Brain Duty!

I don’t want to burst Yael’s bubble, but his wishful thinking is so close to falling into full-blown delusion, and my guest poster has been noticing!

Here’s his hilarious take on Yael, the Kansas City Star’s liberal heart and soul:

The Kansas City Star’s beloved liberal opinion writer and bearded lady, Yael Abouhalkah, was cleared for light brain activity this week by the Kansas City Star’s editorial board after public opinion and common sense believed him to be brain dead upon reading his editorial, Winners and Losers in the Crucial Kansas School Funding Decision, as well as anything else Yael has ever written.

Yael’s career is devoid of prestigious journalism awards, but bursting with tabloid accomplishments, including the previous article as well as an ideologically pure, obsessive-compulsive desire to fallaciously and unapologetically impugn Sam Brownback and the entire state of Kansas. Understandably, at the behest of making payroll next Tuesday, the editorial board could not risk its Most Valuable Propagandist on the sidelines and cleared Yael to author click-bait commentary for today’s issue. Upon passing the editorial board’s strict protocol of having a pulse, and subsequently renewing his pledge to continue running Pravda for Democrats, the journalist-turned-opinion-writer Yael immediately scribbled out his Winners and Losers school funding article.

Although Yael was subsequently corrected by no less than three Kansas legislators regarding his erroneous liberal fan-boy commentary praising Rep. Melissa Rooker as the chief arbiter of the school funding bill in the special legislative session (a credit for which Rep. Ron Ryckman is due), Yael chose to forego the publicly confirmed truth of multiple state legislators. Instead, Comrade Yael threw his ethical standards into the raging dumpster fire choosing to double-down and fall on his beloved hammer and sickle – a move so egregiously deceitful, even Monica’s blue dress blushed.

Unsurprisingly, marching lockstep with the Kansas City Star and his liberal brethren, the attempt to demonstrate baseline ethical standards by Yael was devoid of any noticeable effort – shockingly similar to his coverage of Kansas politics – resurfacing the worry of the aforementioned public opinion and common sense that Yael may still, in fact, be brain dead.* In light of Yael’s lack of moral compass, and impartiality, the Kansas City Star should take a play from their idol’s (Bill Clinton) playbook. Through the pending state and national elections, the Kansas City Star needs to use someone other than Yael, just as the Bill has done to Hillary since the mid-1990s.

* The Star went through a similar event in the 1990s when, after a routine physical, Yael was told to schedule an appointment with a cardiologist. However, the visit was a blessing in disguise, as Yael was diagnosed with a bleeding liberal heart and subsequently promoted.

Controversy and Hypocrisy in the Big First

Buckle down, friends. This ride into Aug. 2 is about to get bumpy. 

Also, stock up on soap and water, because everyone is shoveling dirt. Generally, I'm a little loathe to play the game, but sometimes the stench of hypocrisy and bad acting is so revolting, I have to get out the shovel. So here goes:

Big First friends, what on earth is going on out west in the Tim Huelskamp/Roger Marshall race? Specifically, what in the world is Roger Marshall and his campaign staff doing? Guys, you're revolting. Stop it.

This week, the campaign sent out mailers suggesting the Huelskamp campaign is receiving money from Planned Parenthood. I can't think for a minute that anyone who has ever met Huelskamp, heard him speak, or looked at his record would believe for one second that the mailers are true, and the Marshall campaign should be ashamed of itself. I mean really, really ashamed and embarrassed. 

It's beneath dignity, and these people on the Marshall campaign who are shopping for D.C. real estate need to step off. 

The nature of politics is disgusting, but that mailer is a new low. It's just so false and untrue, and dropped so close to the election as to mislead and disrupt. 

Many are laying this dirty campaign effort at the feet of Axiom Strategies' Jeff Roe. Roe, you'll recall, ran the Ted Cruz campaign. A lot of Kansas conservatives bash Roe, whose office is located just over the state line. I personally haven't been an Axiom Strategies basher. Campaigns are disgusting creatures, and I get the necessity to sometimes hit a little low. However, there's a difference between hitting a little low, and sinking below the surface into a vat of pig urine. 

I think that mailer is where we're at. It's just wrong and inaccurate on a topic where it's too important to be completely honest about. Abortion truly is life and death, and the political issue deserves to be treated with absolute integrity. (This is one reason I find Kansans for Life so revolting. They put power over principle on the most important moral issue in politics. It's absolutely disgraceful.)

In addition to the gross misleading on an issue of such moral importance, there's also the problem that the Axiom Strategies folks promised to ignore the Huelskamp campaign in exchange for Huelskamp's endorsement of Ted Cruz. Roe and his Axiom Strategies have broken that promise. You can read about it here, in Politico.

I don't want perfect to be the enemy of the good. I get that sometimes political involvement requires uncomfortable alliances and compromise. And yet, I can't think of a single good reason not to keep your word or to use vile imagery and words to mislead on the pro-life issue. Every time I think I've seen the absolute bottom of the shameful political game, someone manages to dig the hole a little bit deeper. Nice work, Roger Marshall. 

Meanwhile, Marshall's biggest campaign issue--before he decided to start pedaling outright lies--is that Huelskamp is impossible to work with. Congressman Huelskamp did manage to get the boot from the House Ag Committee. 

In a strange turn of events, however, it appears Rogers, a doctor who served as the chairman of the board of the Great Bend Regional Hospital was  unceremoniously dumped from that role because in the words of one hospital board shareholder, Marshall's tenure was "checkered with fits and bouts of self-serving behavior, misalignment of interests with fellow stockholders..." for which he was removed from the chair, from the board and as a shareholder. 

Now let's talk agriculture, briefly. Agriculture is of critical importance to western Kansas. This is one reason the completely legitimate campaign issue of Huelskamp being removed from the House Ag Committee resonates.

That said, it's ironic that one of Marshall's top campaign operatives and advisers has been emailing Kansas state officials seeking to increase agriculture property taxes. I have a feeling most western Kansas farmers wouldn't be thrilled at the prospect of increasing the rate of property taxes for ag property. 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is dumping a bucket of money into the race for the Big First Congressional seat. They've offered their fiscal support to Marshall. Let's be honest about what the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Chamber and many local Chambers support-- more government spending and cheap labor. Traditionally, Chambers want the government to spend more for education, development, and allow amnesty so Chamber members can have access to cheap labor. 

Big First voters must ask themselves as they cast ballots between now and Aug. 2 if they want to be represented in Washington by a guy who is more than willing to spread lies and misinformation in a quest for power, and one who appears to offer at least soft support for illegal immigration and amnesty.

Now, I'm going to go take a quick shower. I don't like being the bearer of gross news, but the race out west is close, and the people there are being lied to and mislead by one candidate named Marshall.

Gidget Does Radio

Many thanks to The Joseph Ashby Show for allowing me to co-host yesterday. You can listen to the podcast of yesterday's show here.

Also, an extra thanks to Andy Hooser, who Wichita folks know as The Voice of Reason on 1480 AM radio, for assisting me. I was really, really nervous and Andy eased me into talking nonstop for a few hours! 

I also taped a segment for Bob Week's Wichita Liberty show on PBS. You can read Bob's blog here. It's filled with detailed information on Kansas politics. 

Bob's latest project is Kansas Memo, a site dedicated to serving as a kind of clearinghouse for the conservative and libertarian perspective on what's happening in the Sunflower State. 

I also spent far too much time laughing over brunch with Bob, Jennifer Baysinger and Richard Ranzau, a small government guy who serves on the Sedgwick County Commission. The commission has a conservative majority and is making huge strides. Wichita voters can keep it that way by ensuring that Karl Peterjohn retains his seat.

Thank you for rolling out the red carpet, Wichita friends! 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

KS Senate Candidates File Finance Reports

Campaign financing is my least favorite part of elections. Asking for money is awful. I never want to owe anyone anything, so I feel truly sorry for candidates who aren’t wealthy and who are born with that, that, thing that makes asking for favors or money abhorrent. (Hi friends!)

Looking at the campaign finance reports, I think I have an idea who some of those people are. I’ll let you figure it out. The reports are here. Below -- that’s just my opinion on some of the fundraising for Senate races. I’ll check out House races tomorrow.

Incumbents have so many advantages in fundraising. Most started with massive war chests--even great non-incumbent fundraising candidates have an impossible time catching up. Dinah Sykes, challenging Sen. Greg Smith,  raised a healthy $31,000. Perhaps the most interesting contributor is LeEtta Felter, an Olathe school board member who calls herself a conservative. I think someone’s put her cards out on the table. (Perhaps this explains why Sykes was so dramatic about people campaigning for Smith in Sen. Jerry Moran shirts.)  Sykes isn’t the conservative in the race--not even close. That would be Sen. Greg Smith. Smith only raised $12,000 during this reporting period, but he started with $36,000 on hand.

Out west, one race I’m closely watching--and by closely watching, I mean I’m reading the Hutchinson News, so what little I know may be completely inaccurate and even false--is the Sen. Terry Bruce race. He faces challenger Ed Berger. Bruce raised $22,000 in this reporting period. His opponent raised $61,000 during this reporting period. Now, I’m #TeamBruce, but Berger’s report is impressive. If you were going to craft the perfect campaign finance report, Berger’s is it. The vast majority of the cash comes in donations of $100 to $1,000 from individuals who live within the district. There are few PACs, and I don’t think he loaned his campaign cash. (He did donate $1,000 to his own campaign.)

I’ve written briefly about the ongoing battle for Senate leadership. Bruce and Sen. Susan Wagle are in a bitter fight to be Senate President. They have dogs in other races hoping to have the votes when the next Legislature convenes to take the chamber’s top job. It’s a moot point if one (or both) fails to win their races. Wagle, who doesn’t have a primary opponent, started her campaign with $310,000 on hand. That is insane. It shouldn’t cost that much to run a campaign in Wichita. She spent about $50,000 this reporting period, the majority of it, almost $30,000 went to polling. Um… whoever knows how those polls shook out, I’d be interested in hearing (gidget.southway@gmail.com) about it.

Some candidates loaned their campaigns crazy amounts of money.  Sen. Jeff Melcher loaned his campaign $130,000. He’s only spent $30,000, and he had raised enough money to cover that, so I am scratching my head.His opponent, John Skubal, raised $31,000. I hope Melcher’s got big plans for that cash--something certain to get his campaign over the top, but I can’t even imagine what that would be. He’s spent $20,000 on TV spots this primary season. I saw them, and I barely watch commercial television, so they had some reach. From where I’m standing--clear out in the poor part of Johnson County--that race looks close. Here’s hoping voters do the right thing and choose Melcher.

Melcher isn’t the only candidate to loan his campaign crazy dollars. Tom Holland, Democrat, also once loaned his campaign $100,000.He raised about $4,000. Paid himself back, and then loaned his campaign another $70,000. What am I missing here? Guys, does it cost that much to run a campaign in Kansas? It’s baffling.  His Republican opponent, Echo Van Meteren, wife of Singularis’ Kris Van Meteren, raised $11,000. (She loaned herself $5,000).

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Boiling Hypocrisy

I don't understand why liberals never have to defend themselves. This is a strange part of modern life. If Al Gore all of a sudden decides abortion is a holy sacrament, the entire world just pretends that his decisive position change from adamantly pro-life to pro abortion is just the natural evolution of things. One day, Gore is advocating for saving the lives of unborn babies, the next day he's campaigning as the Abortion Candidate in Chief. Ho hum. He "grew" in office learning that sometimes women have to make hard choices.

But when a tape of Dave Trabert, not running for office, surfaces of the Kansas Policy Institute director advocating for a tax increase a decade ago, well that's just proof that Trabert is bought and paid for. Al Gore "evolved" but Trabert sold out.

Liberals are ALWAYS changing their minds and just getting away with it. Consider Hillary Clinton, or The One Barack Obama on gay marriage. One day they're against it, the next day they're waving the rainbow flag--within the same term in office. 

Issues of taxation, economic growth, and efficiency are complex issues. And according to the liberal philosophy, if you argue for tax increases one time, you can never, ever change your mind. 

Trabert advocated for tax increases a dozen years ago, and he explained his change of heart. In a 2002 editorial for KAKE-TV in Wichita, Trabert took that position after reading the Augenblick & Myers report that said Kansas schools were underfunded. I am too lazy to explain all of the specifics, but basically, Kansas schools were suing for money way back then. A so-called independent auditor--A&M--determined that schools were unfunded by $850 million. (And while we're on the topic of underfunding, my independent auditor says the Herbert family is underfunded by about $45,000 per year. Someone hand over the cash, already!)

Anyway, Trabert explains his change of heart by saying, "No one knew then that Augenblick & Myers hadn't really done what they claimed; they said they took efficiency into account, but that wasn't true...No one knew then that schools were using some of their aid to increase cash reserves."

I've never seen such an effort to discredit a person who isn't running for office. The media attacks on Dave Trabert, a quasi-private individual, are repulsive and sickening. The unrelenting attacks on KPI and its leader are evidence that the free market think tank is gaining traction. Liberals are acting like rabid, cornered animals. Say something they don't like, say it well enough and say it long enough, and the liberals will bite. 

Here's hoping Trabert has had his shots.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Paging Kelly Arnold

Dear Kansas delegates:

First, I've been appalled and embarrassed by a lot of the dancing from the convention floor I've seen on national television. Fortunately, the cameras never seem to be on Kansas when the dancing starts. 

That said, we need to have a serious talk about the way we choose delegates to the convention, Kansas. Is there always so much dancing? If so, this needs to be taken into consideration. I am recommending a series of dance off competitions in each Congressional district followed by a televised Dancing with the Republicans for statewide delegates. And then I'm recommending the entire delegation learn a few steps and maybe a flash mob routine. We don't have to look hip--um, we're really not--but the Sunflower State delegation could look less ridiculous than everyone else. 

In all seriousness, it's disappointing that we both voting on delegates to send to the convention when many of those selected decided not to attend. I can't speak for all Congressional districts, but in the Third, only one of those chosen as delegates  are in Cleveland. I believe, but am not certain, that alternates, also elected, are serving in their stead. I realize things change, and this convention could have looked very different from the one we're seeing now. However, there were an awful lot of candidates vying to be convention delegates. It's too bad many of them weren't given the opportunity. So, maybe a dance off is a better selection tool? Someone who learns a few steps and has the nerve to dance for a spot clearly wants to go bad enough to be considered!

Second, maybe this is how it always happens--the chair of the state GOP gets the mic--but good choice on Kelly Arnold announcing Kansas' delegation votes. I mean, that's really some photogenic hair. 

Now about what he said: I can live with the Royals thing, although, Missouri kind of has a point. The t-shirts were a great touch, though!

And sigh. Bob Dole. I don't want to sound like a broken record. I don't want to kick a war hero days after his birthday, but next time, do we have to lead with "Home of Bob Dole." How long is Kansas going to dine out on that one? Seriously. This isn't Dole hate; it's just--is that it? That's the best Kansas has to offer? 

Let's think on this for four years from now and come up with truly the best things our state has to offer. How about this old quote from Carl Becker about the Kansas spirit-- "Kansas is America in microcosm." Or, Kansas is the conservative center for Republican support? And maybe tie it to the fact that Kansas is the geographic center of the U.S.--the country's heart? Or, if we can't help but mention individuals, what about Amelia Earhart and somehow tie that to Kansas' booming aerospace industry? Or, if we must mention sports, the first college football game--the nation's most important sport--was played in Kansas. (Kansas vs. Baker in 1890. Unsurprisingly, Baker won.) Kansas has amazing history, great industry, and so many amazing people, and we wasted our few minutes on a (beloved) baseball team in Missouri and Bob Dole. We can do better.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Trumpster Fire

Guys, is this real life?

Um, guys, I think yesterday went badly. Really, astoundingly, bad. 

I recognize I'm reading this through the lenses of an awful lot of liberals--ahem, all of mainstream media and the Twitter trolls. That said, delegates for one state walked out of the convention following a refusal to have a roll call vote.

Meanwhile, a Utah delegate says she was surrounded by Trumpsters outside a bathroom in the convention hall, where Trump supporters threatened to kill her and told her to leave the party and the state. 

There are varying accounts of what happened with Kansas delegates. At least one Kansas delegate, Dalton Glasscock, signed the petition for a roll call vote, though some in the Kansas delegation reported otherwise. (There are 40 Kansas delegates and a bazillion people there, so I'm pretty sure it's easy to lose track of what every individual Kansas delegate is up to!) Reporters were, supposedly, shuffled from the floor right before the rules kerfuffle. The accounts of how many states signed onto the petition vary, and petition itself has vanished.

Some angry dude yelled at the youngster Dalton to sit down and shut it. (pictured. Like a true Millenial, young Dalton took a photo and Facebooked it. LOL. HashtagThatOtherGuyIsn'tOntheSocialMedia. Probably.)

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is credited for helping write a very conservative party platform. 

In other news, a photo of Beverly Gossage, Kansas delegate, went viral. The Kansas delegation must have pretty decent seats. I sure saw a lot of them on television. 

A pastor gave one of the worst opening prayers ever to grace national television. Theologically, it was just awful. But at least no one booed God, which is what they do at the Democrat Convention. This is cold, cold comfort, but that's where we are. 

A little later, some conservative!! publications are reporting that there was light booing when (reality star) and Congressman Sean Duffy said his wife, Rachel Campos (reality star. Sigh.) was from Mexico. So gross and tacky and disgraceful.

Joni Ernst, Iowa Republican, veteran and supposed up-and-comer gave a decent speech to a half empty convention hall. I guess to make room for a Scott Baio prime time speech. His speech was meh. I am not a fan of giving rock stars, has-beens, and reality stars speaking opportunities during prime time conventions. 

But then, I'm reminded my party has nominated a reality star as its standard bearer. (And Omarosa, a walking stereotype cast specifically for that reason on a Donald Trump reality show, was named Trump's director of African-American outreach. The depths of how this grieves me can't be overstated.)

Marcus Luttrell gave a speech. I like him. The speech was just OK, but he's a hero. Sheriff David Clarke's speech was OK. Both speeches were better than Chachi's. 

It appears Melania Trump plagiarized parts of her speech. Not cool. Did the Trump campaign think no one would notice? So this morning, every morning talk show and every television station is showing clips of Michelle's speech next to Melania's speech. 

I don't think yesterday went all that well. Here's hoping today goes a little better.

Monday, July 18, 2016

RNC Convention

I'm making a Twitter list of the Kansas Twitter users at the RNC Convention in Cleveland. 

I super hope Kansas delegates and attendees will give those of us stuck at home the inside 4-1-1 live from Cleveland. Media is using Twitter more than ever before to cover events, and far too often, they're only getting one side of the story as conservatives have abandoned the platform. (I can't say I blame conservatives, but we may have ceded some valuable ground.)

Feel free to follow my list or let me know who I'm missing!


The Race Debate

I'm sick to death of this conversation, but it appears we're going to continue having it long after I'm gone. So here we go. I'm going to talk race for half a second, and then I'd like to stop for the rest of my life. I've had enough. 

First, I'm actually quite sick of people asking me to give my thoughts on the topic of police and race. I think it's mildly racist to make the assumption that I have something special to say on the topic by virtue of my race. Mostly when police shoot an unarmed person, I feel desperately sorry for everyone involved. 

Police shouldn't be asked to "police" with weapons a man selling black market cigarettes on the streets of New York City. The only danger New York police were fighting when they placed Eric Garner in a choke hold was the danger that a guy might be making money without giving the government a cut. Police are put in an incredibly awkward position when they are given deadly weapons and then asked to police at the point of a gun things like broken tail lights, expired tags, and city code violations. (And yes, I recognize it's slightly more complicated than that. But only slightly.) There's zero excuse for making a bad situation worse by killing police. That's sick, and those people are clearly mentally imbalanced. 

Since we're on this topic of race, I'll tell you what fires me up.

I'm sick of the indignity of people assuming that the opportunities I've received are due to race. That's outrageous, but I can tell you in the last week, two, well-meaning liberals have explained to me that I have been given the opportunity to write a political column (or appear as a panelist on television) because I'm a minority woman. Um. I'm just spit-balling here, but maybe I've been given those opportunities because I'm a pretty decent writer, and I work at it. Every.single.day, I write. Conservatives have occasionally made those assumptions, but it's far rarer from the right than from the left in my experience. So, stop it. Are there people who land in positions based on how they look? Of course. Victoria's Secrets runway shows are particularly cruel in that regard. More often, people get jobs and opportunities based on who they know. Does this give certain people advantages? Sure. Does that mean the whole world is racist?Of course not. It means they're people, and almost all of the people I know are trying--really trying.

Third, I'm really tired of well-meaning people trying to speak for everyone else. I can't tell you the number of Facebook posts I've seen in the last few weeks saying things like, "Police think this.... Black people believe this..." Those are awfully bold generalizations. Stop attempting to tell other people what they think, because truthfully, you don't know. You're making assumptions, and if your assumption covers an entire race or a very broad workforce, you're wrong. You're stereotyping. You're doing the very thing your self righteous Facebook post is accusing everyone else of doing. Stop it. 

I'm going to give a perfect example: I have two cousins, unrelated to one another --one white, one black, who both grew up in the same small Kansas town. They're friends. They graduated from the same high school in the same class. They have similar economic backgrounds, similar post high school educations. They're both in their mid-30s, and have since moved to slightly larger Kansas towns. Reading their Facebook posts about the current race situation has been a revelation. 

One cousin posts repeatedly about how the police have done a grave injustice to the black community. He posts a lot of Black Lives Matter stuff. The other cousin posts a lot of stuff like this: "Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus. She didn't trash the bus. Big difference." Now guess which one is white and which cousin is black, and get back to me. It's probably not what you think.

And this has apparently become a thing: Counting the number of black people wherever you are or in photos. I'm sorry, but that's just gross and creepy. I've seen a number of people making comment about how few black people are at the convention (already!!?), and the other day, I had lunch with someone who doesn't like Overland Park because there just aren't enough black people there. I can't even imagine wandering through the world keeping a mental tally of the number of black people in random shopping centers. Unless it's a KKK rally, the number of black people in attendance at an event or a particular shopping center really isn't relevant. So, stop it. 

People are people, and lots of people do stupid things. There's no reason to add to the nonsense with self-righteous posts on social media or by demanding that others take a stand on Facebook. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Magic Fairy Sprinkles Hope-y Change Dust at State BOE

Apparently, members of the board Kansas State Board of Education think money grows on some magic tree. On Tuesday, July 12, members voted to seek an increase in state school aid of $900 million. According the Kansas Association of School Board’s newsletter, the state board wanted to “make a statement on suitable funding to the Kansas Supreme Court.”

In case they missed it--are the members products of government schools?-- there is no money tree. Kansas’ money “grows” in the pockets of taxpayers. And by “grows” I mean, we work our tails off to bring home some bacon. At this point, most taxpayers are screaming “Uncle,” because after paying taxes, so many taxes, they’re left with one bacon bit. So, I think it’s important to remind the tax collectors for the KNEA, also known as the Kansas Supreme Court, that every tax increase is a pay cut to taxpayers.

I looked for newspaper, television, stories that covered the July 12 state board of education. Also in the July 12 meeting, the board appointed a 26-member task force to study a Kansas teacher shortage. So, every reporter in Kansas apparently went back to their desks to find people to quote about how teacher salaries are too low, and it appears they all buried the lede--the board is requesting $4,650 in base state aid per pupil, based on the now deceased--may it rest in peace--old school finance formula.

So, there’s a teacher shortage because teachers aren’t making enough money, so the solution is everyone else making less?

In addition to seeking $900 million in additional state aid, board members also approved a $469,000 request for the Children’s Initiative Fund. This fund is pretty much a slush fund for special interest groups. While some of the money goes to children’s programs, a large chunk, $17-$18 million, of it is given out in Early Childhood Block Grants. You can gain some insight about this money here.

But the CIF request still wasn’t enough money to meet the requests board members adopted on Tuesday. They’re also seeking $3 million to restore Mentor Teacher Programs. (We have a mentor program at my job. I’m pretty sure it’s virtually free, but OK, maybe pairing a veteran teacher with a new teacher is more difficult in government schools). Board members would also like $4.25 million for professional development money; $35,000 for agriculture in the classroom programs; $47,000 for basically a teacher scholarship program for National Board Certification; an additional half million for a Pre-K pilot program; $1.45 million for transportation to technical schools; And $625,000 for after school mentoring programs.

For some reason, the board didn’t recommend funding all-day kindergarten. This is baffling. When you’re already demanding billions, what’s another million or so?

Apparently, members of the board of education think there’s a magical fairy who flies around sprinkling cash on the heads of people who act self-righteous.

Column: Brownback Talks Fiscal Sanity, Thankfully!

From my column in today's KC Star:
Kansas is consistently bringing in more revenue month over month than it did the year before. Legislators are required to base the budget they adopt each year on the estimates provided. So, when you see these election year stories about the Sunflower State budget crisis, please understand that state spending isn’t in the tank. We’re spending as much or more than we ever have before.
The estimators keep getting it wrong, detractors complain about budget cuts, the bureaucrats wail and voters are expected to demand tax increases. It’s a gross display, and the solution is finding a new budget brain trust to crunch the estimates.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/community/joco-913/joco-opinion/article89269522.html#storylink=cpy

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Campaign Drama: Libs Need the Vapors

The self-righteous campaign nonsense has reached a fevered pitch. 

Olathe School Board member Amy Martin went apocalyptic over the weekend. On the Twittersphere, liberal trolls are desperate because Brett Hildabrand sent a mailer that included the Shawnee Mission School District logo. 

The Blue Valley School District issued an apology--an apology!!-- for thanking current legislators, and sign thieves removed and vandalized signs for Sen. Greg Smith. 

In threatening fashion, the thieves dropped the signs in Smith's driveway. Stay classy, libs!

Meanwhile, Tim Carpenter of the Topeka Capital-Journal writes that Dinah Sykes is stompy, stompy mad that people campaigning for Moran had the gall to stop at her door and ask her to support Sen. Greg Smith.

She told Moran campaigners: "I'm voting for Dinah Sykes, because I'm Dinah Sykes." And then she called Moran's office and expressed her distaste that Moran was involved in primaries.

It's kind of amazing how liberals need vapors about candidate mailers accurately quoting people, but offer radio silence on vandalism. 

I'm a little disappointed that the Moran volunteers didn't take a look at their walk list before knocking on her door. This seems like Politics 101! Most walk lists have names, ages, the last time the person voted.

But then, maybe the campaigners looked at the list and didn't recognize Sykes' name. That sure doesn't bode well for her election chances.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Whining Whiners Who Whine

The Whining Whiners Who Whine™ lost their minds this weekend. I speak specifically of the the Whining Whiners Who Whine™ of Game On for Kansas Schools. 

Rep. Erin Davis sent a mailer with a quote from Olathe Board of Education member, Amy Martin, on it. The quote was from an email to the entire Olathe legislative delegation. It read: "Thank you for your 'yes' vote." 

Did Martin write that in an email that was sent to Davis? Yep. Does the mailer say Martin "endorses" Davis? Nope. 

The mailers reached mailboxes sometime late last week, and Martin took to the childishly named GameOn Facebook page to act like a kid caught with her hand in the cookie jar. 

"I did not give permission for this and I do not endorse her candidacy... I thanked those Olathe senators and representatives who voted yes on HB2001 and Rep. Davis was among them... Students were able to continue receiving critical services and teachers continued to get paid and didn't have their healthcare jeopardized. For that I was thankful," Martin wrote. It's almost as if that's what the postcard said--that she thanked Davis.

And then Martin went on to write about the stuff her mother taught her about saying thank you. Seriously, when anyone trots out self-righteous lines about their mothers (or, bless his heart and no offense, K.Yo, their grandmothers), wise people tune out. They're not about to hear facts; they're about to hear a folksy opinion. It's like the idea of hanging out in a wheat field. Sounds really romantic--the smell of wheat, a bright sunny day. And then you get out there and sweat to death and get eaten alive by mosquitoes and sink in the mud.

I have a feeling this feigned outrage is going to continue throughout the next few weeks. Over at highly-paid attorneys and corporations fronted by soccer moms for Blue Valley Schools, the district administration is issuing Facebook statements clarifying that its thank you notes to legislators isn't an endorsement. Serious question: If voters don't understand the difference between a thank you and an endorsement, should children be taught the meaning of words in government schools? Asking for a friend. 

There was nothing dishonest about the postcard, but there's a whole lot of dishonest about the way the Game On folks are behaving. It's like they think this is afternoon tea, and not politics. If you're an elected official, like Martin is, and you send a bunch of other elected officials an email, you shouldn't be surprised if your words are used somewhere down the line. This isn't preschool. 

For those who'd like the actual truth about what happened in Topeka in the waning hours of the legislative special session: Here it is one more time: A number of Johnson County representatives and senators worked overtime beside superintendents of many JoCo schools to come up with a solution that all parties could live with. Meanwhile, the only part the so-called mods played was stirring the pot. Literally, they did nothing but tweet. They weren't looking for solutions. They were looking to torpedo the process. 

Their goal was to get the schools closed so they could blame conservatives and eventually force them to vote for a tax increase. It's called politics. I don't really like how it's played, but that's the game, and I don't set the rules.

Johnson County conservatives, particularly people like Ron Ryckman, went out of their way to ensure Johnson County schools got their funding. As far as I'm concerned, they negotiated with hostage takers, but the end result was schools will be open and no schools received a cut. That's a miracle, friends, a miracle pulled off by some of the exact same people these Game On for schools people are excoriating.

The Whining Whiners Who Whine™ need to decide whether they are serious about school funding and The Children, or whether the only thing that matters is getting their friends elected. Many of the conservatives they are vomiting lies and misconceptions about today are going to be back in Topeka come January. It's going to be a tough session, and cuts will be made. That's not a threat. That's simply an economic reality. Compromise will be a requirement, but I can't see any good reason to compromise with people who will do and say anything to stick a knife in their backs.