Saturday, April 25, 2009
The flu is fast becoming a pandemic. Mexico has canceled all public events for ten days due to the spread. Just a few minutes ago, Fox News was reporting that the only confirmed cases were in California and Texas, but is now reporting that the virus has spread to New York and here in Kansas.
The origins of the Spanish flu of 1918 have been debated back and forth. Some believe the flu originated in Haskell County, Kansas. The first reported cases were in soldiers at Fort Riley. Not exactly something to be proud of.
So far it looks as though this isn't a bird flu type situation. Let's all pray the situation doesn't get worse.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Is Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kans.) getting cold feet about supporting the nomination of Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D-Kans.) to lead the Department of Health and Human Services? According to CQ, Brownback has said it’s “getting harder and harder” to support Sebelius. The impetus was her veto of House Sub for SB 218 in Kansas, a bill that would have ended the “mental health” exception for partial birth abortion, and which Sebelius opponents had seen coming ever since the bill moved on April 5.
Pro-life groups have been going after Sebelius for weeks, arguing that her past financial donations from George Tiller — a partial-birth abortion provider who has been acquitted of criminal charges — make her, in the words of Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, “one of the worst Cabinet choices in U.S. history.” But Sebelius’s nomination hasn’t been seen as troubled because of the support of Brownback. And Brownback has taken no small amount of heat for this as he runs for governor back home.
Sen. Pat Roberts looks like he will still vote for confirmation. Sen. Sam Brownback looks as though he's still going to vote to confirm as well, although it certainly isn't going over well with the pro-life community.
I certainly don't want to see Sebelius confirmed to the HHS post. She's proven herself over and over again to be nothing more than a pro-abortion radical beholden to George Tiller even when she's getting ready to leave the state. I can only imagine the paybacks she'll have to hand out as HHS Secretary.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Democrats were quick to say the opposition was just a move by Steele to shore up his pro-life creds. That may certainly be a possibility. Steele wasn't my first pick for GOP chair and he's certainly made some bonehead moves since his election. However, I think the more likely reason Steele is voicing opposition is because he's learning more and more about Sebelius' radical pro-abortion record and realizing that more and more GOP Senators aren't going to roll over.
What exactly has Tiller done for Sebelius that she feels so in debt to him? It's almost scary to think about what the guy has done that she'd be willing to put her nomination in even the slightest risk to protect him from prosecution.
The veto also brought a response from Sen. Tim Huelskamp. In the blast email sent shortly after the veto Huelskamp said:
"The pro-abortion veto by Governor Sebelius in the last hour of the last day of her 10-day period demonstrates her radical commitment to George Tiller and late-term abortion. It is simply shocking that someone so indebted to the late-term abortion industry is still being considered for Secretary of HHS.”A quick check of Wasinger site shows no statement regarding the veto. It's become clear Rob is in favor of Sebelius being HHS Secretary, but it would seem an acknowledgment of her veto would at least be in order, even if it didn't address his upcoming Senate confirmation.
I doubt the new opposition will block her confirmation. But then again I didn't think there would be this much opposition at all, so a lot is possible over the next week.
Sebelius said she vetoed the bill because it allowed patients to later sue a doctor over a botched abortion or because of a coerced abortion. Isn't it nice to know Sebelius is for tort reform when it comes to killing live babies? I wonder how her trial lawyer financiers will react to her taking business away from them?
Even though a vote on Sebelius as HHS Secretary has been delayed until next week, it seems she's confident enough in her chances to go ahead and veto the bill. It seems she's also confident in her ability to choral Democrats in the House to sustain her veto.
In nearly seven years in office, Sebelius has only signed one pro-life bill into law, which was just recently during her Senate confirmation hearings.
The idea that a patient shouldn't be able to hold their physician accountable simply because of which procedure is being performed is quite the double standard. With a veto session coming up next week, we'll see if that veto stands. It's possible a veto override attempt could come within days of her Senate vote next week, making for some interesting news.
As an ACLU lawyer, Goyle has quite a record and some interesting friends. But I certainly wouldn't underestimate his fund raising power and thus his electability. Republicans would need a strong candidate to successfully compete.
I would like to see state Rep. Kasha Kelley get in the race. Kelley has shown herself to be a leader on fiscal issues, something that's going to be key to winning in the fiscal climate our state is heading towards. Kelley was also instrumental in getting KanView created. She's solidly pro-life and hasn't shyed away from taking on the educrats either. In my opinion, she's the most well balanced candidate.
Plus, she's not that bad looking either! Whether I like it or not, that's important in today's political world.
Kelley is a smart politician who knows what it takes to win. She would be more effective in pointing out Goyle's ACLU ties and his previous votes in the House than other possible candidates. She hasn't shown herself to be a stellar fund raiser, but that's certainly something that can be fixed with the right people on her team.
Overall, Kelley is the "darkhorse candidate" I'd like to see get in the race. Even if she doesn't, she's a rising star that I doubt will remain in the House forever.
After lying in written questions to Senators about her connections to George Tiller, she token signed an abortion bill into law. Will she repeat in her quest for a Washington office?
Time will tell.
At the top of the list is Senate Majority leader Derek Schmidt. It's been pretty common knowledge that Schmidt has wanted to run for higher office for some time. I would imagine he would make a run for Governor if Brownback and Thornburgh weren't already in the race. That doesn't leave much room for him.
His recent change of heart regarding increasing taxes to fix the budget is somewhat telling. I think it's just a matter of time before he throws his hat in the ring. He'll have to overcome virtually no name recognition in the Wichita area because his Senate district only covers three counties in the fourth. But that's certainly possible and he'll be a strong candidate to beat.
I'd be remiss not to mention Bob Knight again. Who knows exactly which way he might decide to run... if he does... which he won't.
Both Susan Wagle and Carolyn McGinn have been named as possible candidates. Either would would be strong candidates and would have some name recognition, although none of the candidates on either side have the name ID like Tiahrt himself. Both are conservative and would more than likely run a conservative based campaign. Wagle would be more of a lightening rod than McGinn, but I still think she would be effective and could certainly win. I doubt both would get in, I think it's an either/or thing here.
Dick Kelsey has made it clear he's in it to win with a large loan to his campaign, but he's also only been able to find two contributors who don't have the last name of Kelsey. His win a trip gimmick to try and get people to visit his website is a bit of a concern for me as well. It didn't result in any significant donations to his campaign and I really expected a more professional looking site after the way it was promoted. The graphics are poor, the design doesn't seem right and I found several missing links within just a couple of minutes. Online campaigning is a fine idea, but don't push it unless you have the resources there to capitalize on it.
Pompeo has been a great National Committeeman and I look forward to seeing him continue to serve. My main concern with Pompeo is his speaking skills. But that's certainly something that can be improved over time. For me, the jury is still out on Pompeo.
Just for fun, let's throw out Phil Journey. Sure he just got elected as a District Court judge, but he certainly knows how to run a campaign. Now that conceal carry is legal in Kansas, I don't see him jumping in.
There's a few more possible candidates that I'm leaving out, but none of them seem like real possibilities (not that everyone mentioned above is even a remote possibility.) There is, however one name I'm leaving off the list. That's of course my pick in a perfect "I get to pick the nominee" world. I'll share that later. I promise it'll make every liberal scream!
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
I can't even begin to imagine what is going to be said after the reaction over a measly 1% cut. It's for the children, don't you know? Yes I know, and if more money equaled better results, I might consider getting on board. But time and time again studies have shown more money doesn't make students perform better or prepare them to enter college or the real world.
To understand that money does not equal performance, one needs to look no further than Kansas City, Missouri. In 1985, a federal judge ordered the district to come up with a plan to close the gap in achievement among white and black students. The catch? Money was to be no object.
A Cato Institute analysis gives us the plan formulation and the dismal results.
To improve the education of black students and encourage desegregation, a federal judge invited the Kansas City, Missouri School District to come up with a cost-is-no-object educational plan and ordered local and state taxpayers to find the money to pay for it.In fact, more money equals better schools was the mantra of educrats when the Supreme Court ordered more spending in 2005. And yet year after year no reliable evidence has been produced to show that money has a significant effect on student achievement.
Kansas City spent as much as $11,700 per pupil--more money per pupil, on a cost of living adjusted basis, than any other of the 280 largest districts in the country. The money bought higher teachers' salaries, 15 new schools, and such amenities as an Olympic-sized swimming pool with an underwater viewing room, television and animation studios, a robotics lab, a 25-acre wildlife sanctuary, a zoo, a model United Nations with simultaneous translation capability, and field trips to Mexico and Senegal. The student-teacher ratio was 12 or 13 to 1, the lowest of any major school district in the country.
The results were dismal. Test scores did not rise; the black-white gap did not diminish; and there was less, not greater, integration.
Democrats have argued that Kansas should decouple it's tax code from federal tax laws to increase state revenues. Changes to Federal tax laws passed by the Democratically controlled Congress and signed by President Obama have compounded the state's budget problems because currently Kansas follow suit with any new tax breaks. And yet those changes were part of the stimulus package that was supposed to help our economy rebound. So will Kansas Democrats side with Obama or will they once again bow to the Kansas education lobby?
Now two years later the state's unable to pay its bills and is looking at tax increases to make ends meet. So, how's that gambling revenue working out for ya?
Not so well. When the bill was passed, revenue estimates were around $200 million a year. But that assumed casinos would be, you know, built. That part of the plan hasn't worked out so well.
The only casino under construction is in Dodge City, the smallest of the four projects. The southeast Kansas casino got one company on the hook who promptly withdrew. A recent second application opening didn't get any applicants.
Same for the Kansas City and Sumner County casinos. Nobody felt like hopping on that train the first time around. Now they have some applicants, but will they stick around? The state hasn't had much luck in that department.
It seems when the Governor and Legislators decided Kansas should be in the casino business they forgot one important part of the plan, that you need casinos to make money. Now lawmakers are once again proposing using gambling revenue to fix the budget shortfall.
Sounds like a great plan, but I wonder if they've worked out the kinks from last time. Like actually getting a casino built. Maybe Democrats and Republicans alike would be better off to spend their time focusing on cutting the budget than trying to find funny money to plug the hole.
Moore's official website displays a national debt of over $11 trillion, but his campaign website, which was last updated who knows when, shows a national debt clock stopped at around $10 trillion. It looks like Moore doesn't even bother to go to the trouble of explaining why he has a national debt clock on his campaign website in the first place.
"We must change our budgeting practices that will put our future generations deeply in debt. Tough choices must be made, but if Kansas families have to live within a budget, and it’s time the federal government did as"As...what? Were you planning on finishing that thought there bud, or was that a conscious stop knowing that you've participated heavily in making sure the federal government doesn't budget like a family.
There's no date on Moore's campaign website debt clock, but the national debt surpassed $10 trillion around October of last year. So that means since Moore got re-elected, the national debt has gone up just over $700 billion. Of course, this can't include the stimulus because the stimulus by itself was more than $700 billion!
$700 billion since November means Dennis Moore has managed to accumulate $2,343 of debt for every man, woman and child in the US in just under six months. For those that care, that's just over $9,300 for a family of four.
Hey, thanks for putting up those debt clocks "Double 0 Moore!" But do us a favor and don't put up another one. I don't think we can afford it!
The Kansas City Star is one of the poorest newspapers around. Unlike other conservatives, I'm not going to say that all of their financial troubles are due to biased reporting, because they're not. Newspapers everywhere are falling on hard times and that certainly explains many of the Star's problems away. But the Star certainly isn't helping itself when they cut newsroom and hard hitting journalists versus their left groupie editorial staff.
I've known the Star to actively suppress stories. The Star was one of the last to report the escapades of Paul Morrison that the Capital Journal uncovered. And the Star certainly hasn't seen a liberal politician they didn't like.
All in all, the Star is a wrech of a paper, and although I don't want to see the downfall of the newspaper industry I certainly won't be sad to see the Star go under. Not everything befalling the Star is their fault but they certainly haven't gone out of their way to fix obvious problems. The Star is definitely a red light paper.
The Wichita Eagle is an equally miserable paper. They have been unable to let their left-loving editorial staff go either and continue to actively suppress stories they don't like. Wichita Liberty has been great at highlighting the one-sided reporting of the Eagle. Especially troubling is the holier than thou editorials on political money reporting while hiding their contributions to the USD 259 bond issue.
Again, I don't wish to see newspapers in general go under because they are an important part of any free society. On the other hand, the Eagle, along with the Star, have been ignoring their most important duty, hard hitting journalism, for far too long and perhaps the free market dictates they deserve to go bankrupt.
The Eagle is certainly a red light paper.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
(A little disclaimer here, I don't pretend to know anything about internal Democratic politics or why they do what they do.)
Unlike in the first district, there are several potential picks for Democrats in the fourth. State Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau is certainly a potential candidate. I think overall she'd be strong, but she's only just been elected to the Kansas Senate and I don't know of anything in particular that she's done policy wise in her previous job in the House that she could tell the voters about. So if she would become a candidate, I doubt she'd go very far.
Bob Knight is always a possibility. Yea, he's a registered Republican, but when has that ever stopped anyone before? I doubt Knight would be the Democrats first choice though, as he's been rejected by the voters just one too many times.
Jim Ward hasn't publicly said he's not interested, so that pretty much means he's interested. If I was a Democrat he'd be somewhere in the middle of my list. I don't know of anything he's done either. From my perspective, I hope he gets into the mix because I don't think he'd win the primary, and I certainly wouldn't expect him to be able to win in a general election, so that might make his House seat competitive if Republicans could find a candidate.
Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer might be a possibility. I don't know how strong he would be against an R, but he's certainly shown himself capable of getting elected in the state's largest city, so I wouldn't count him out. And he'd be able to run without loosing his current position, so that'd be a plus.
I'm sure there are more possibilities out there, but those are the ones I can think up off the top of my head. But none of those would get my vote if I wanted a Democrat to win. That award goes to Raj Goyle.
Again, I don't pretend to know what's best for the Democratic Party, but if I wanted to win I'd nominate Raj Goyle. He's quite talented at raising money from ACLU lawyers on the east coast, which is always handy when trying to win an election. He's very well spoken (a lawyer after all) and articulates his positions, or lack thereof, well. He'd be at a disadvantage in a general because whoever is the R is going to have the resources to point out his ACLU ties. But I certainly wouldn't count him out. I think he'd be a strong candidate for the other side.
Now, based on my pick for the Dems, I'll share my pick for the good guys later.
Eight Republican's voted against her confirmation. Sen Jon Kyl of Arizona voted against because he wasn't convinced she would do enough to keep the government out of the doctor/patient relationship. Her ties to Tiller were also noted. Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah voted against Sebelius because of her inability to tell the truth regarding her relationship to Tiller.
Sebelius will most assuredly be confirmed by the Senate as a whole, probably quite soon. It's too bad she'll now be able to influence our entire nations health care system, but on the other hand, I'm not sad to see her leaving the land of Oz.
So of course the question now becomes whether or not she'll still be around for the veto session. I think now that the committee vote is over and pro-lifers don't seem to have anyone on point to block a full vote, she'll be confirmed quickly, maybe even by the end of the week. It's quite possible she'll be gone before the end of the veto session.
I doubt that will have any bearing on whether or not additional taxes and fees are passed to balance the budget.
I'll copy the release below. I thought the note at the end was interesting. Personal endorsement and not an organizational endorsement must be the anti-Wasinger move. Take note Rob, this is how you promote yourself without misleading voters and potential donors.
Two leaders in the Pro-marriage and Pro-family movement -- Phil Burress and Colin Hanna -- announced today their endorsements for Tim Huelskamp for Congress (KS-01)
An influential conservative leader who heads the Citizens for Community Values, CBN News' David Brody recently described Phil Burress as, "one of the key guys in the room when James Dobson, Tony Perkins and others gather to discuss key social issues."
Colin Hanna is president of Let Freedom Ring USA and is co-chair of the influential "Weyrich Conservative Luncheon" -- a weekly-gathering of key conservative leaders in Washington, DC.
"I am proud to endorse a proven and experienced leader like Tim Huelskamp -- who authored the Kansas Marriage Amendment and spearheaded its passage," said Burress.
Hanna noted that, "We need leaders like Tim Huelskamp in Congress as we seek to protect the Defense of Marriage Act that Bill Clinton signed into law back in 1996."
"Phil Burress and Colin Hanna are both influential national conservative leaders,and I am honored to have received their support for Congress," said Huelskamp.
Huelskamp continues to accumulate conservative endorsements at an impressive clip. Burress and Hanna join Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Kansans for Life, Concerned Women for America PAC, Rev. Lou Sheldon, Family Research Council Senior Fellow Ken Blackwell, and Pro-Life Leader Jill Stanek, in endorsing Huelskamp for Congress.
While Huelskamp has received tremendous support from national conservative leaders, he is also enjoying tremendous support from Kansans. In addition to the Kansans for Life endorsement, 94% of Huelskamp's 1st quarter donations came from Kansas and 62% from the 1st district.
*Mr. Burress and Mr. Hanna are both endorsing in their private capacity and not on behalf of any organization.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Rep. Kevin Yoder made a splash this afternoon when he suggested the Republican controlled Legislature might be willing to accept $150 million worth of proposals from the Governor. Those would include "suspending" certain tax cuts and eliminating other tax breaks the state automatically gives to businesses and others because it's tax laws are based on federal tax guidelines.
It's interesting to note here that the changes in federal tax laws that are hurting state revenues were passed by a Democrat Congress and signed into law by a Democrat President as a part of the stimulus bill. If the stimulus bill was so important to the health of the nation's economy, why would Democrats in Kansas try to stop those effects here in Kansas? Do they disagree with their Washington counterparts are to the effectiveness of the stimulus plan?
Don't say the mods have caved yet. Senate Majority Leader Derek Schmidt noted that even with the "revenue enhancements" there's still a heck of gap to be closed. (Revenue "enhancements." I love PC talk! If you guys wanted to be really PC you'd call it "revenue stabilization." Just watch, it'll catch on!)
The short fall is around $330 million but that doesn't include something left in the bank. And that doesn't take into account state revenues continuing to fall. So don't think that other tax increases are off the table just yet.
On the other hand, don't think the mods have caved. I think the party, if you'll pardon the pun, is just getting started.
So, if Kansas were to enact the same cuts, they'd have to cut $361,000 from the state's $13 billion budget.
Or, here's a better way to get your mind around it. If the $3.6 trillion budget was represented instead by a $50,000 family budget, the family would have been asked to cut spending by $1.39!
Seriously? I'm supposed to give the President credit for asking the government to cut spending by less than three one thousands of a percent? What would amount to a buck thirty nine cut for a family budget of $50,000?
The real story is the motive. Is it a tea party effect? Perhaps.
“We also have a deficit — a confidence gap — when it comes to the American people.”Yes you do Mr. President, but cutting a $1.39 from $50,000 isn't going to restore our confidence.
Rob Wasinger wasn't able to attend any events, even in Emporia where I assume he's still living. Why? What's the hold up? You praise those that turned out but couldn't be bothered to show up yourself?
What about the other candidates. Tracey Mann lives in Salina now. Why couldn't he show up? He's the "conservative, but not ideologic" candidate. TEA parties are about fiscal conservatism, the "non-ideologic" part of conservative. Where was he?
What about Sue Boldra? She could sure use a boost. What about Tim Barker? Tim's a businessman and just recently decided to become a Republican. It would seem to me that fiscal restraint would be one of the hallmarks of the party that would bring him over. Where was he?
So, which one plans to show up in Washington and practice fiscal responsibility when none of them seem to be able to show up for little TEA party?
The Topeka Capital-Journal has an article up debating the impact of the TEA party rallies. I myself am not sure what the long term impact will be. However I can say a few things with certainty.
First of all, I actually went to a TEA party, unlike probably the two college professors interviewed in the Cap-Journal article. Second, I can say with certainty you don't get 1,500 people to show up on a Wednesday evening by giving out a couple of books.
Two books. That's the prize that was given out in Topeka that apparently "clouded" why everyone was there. I think the only thing that's cloudy is Ciglar's mind.
Allan Ciglar, professor of political science at The University of Kansas, has doubts about the real impact of the rallies.
“It looked to me to be very well orchestrated,” he said. Prizes were being given out at some events, tending to cloud the question of why the people were there.
You keep thinking that Ciglar. Just like I want Democrats to keep thinking the TEA parties are a Republican fabrication and will have no impact. And I want you to keep saying it in public.
“I don’t think in the near future taxes are going to be a big issue with most people,” he said. “You don’t get a tax revolt until you have a tax increase.”
And Ciglar noted most lower to middle income Americans won’t see any federal tax increases any time soon. Later, if taxes need to be increased to begin paying down the national debt, that would be the time for protests.
I don't know what the long term impact of the TEA parties will be. But I do know that continually degrading those who came out and the thousands more that couldn't because of work or other reasons are only going to get madder and more involved the more big spenders say what they're doing doesn't matter.
The only clue Ciglar had was Democrat talking points. The majority of those I spoke to at both parties I attended were there because they were tired of the spending. They know more debt isn't the answer. And all but three of them were either registered Democrats or independents.
So keep talking. Democrats like Ciglar are one of the best motivators for grassroots organizers!
Gov. Sebelius and the Legislature will have to close a minimum $328 million gap. That's almost guaranteed to increase in the months to come as there's no sign that revenues are going to reverse their downward trend.
As any good Democrat, Gov. Sebelius and her cronies in the Legislature have no intention of letting this crisis simply go by. House Minority Leader Paul Davis has already made his love of a tax increase clear. And following the release of the new revenue numbers, Gov. Sebelius indicated she wanted to enact her previous recommendations to avoid cuts to, "essential services for vulnerable citizens or further cuts in education."
In other words, there's nothing left to cut but education, therefore we need to increase taxes so we can put more of Kansans money down a black hole.
The main variable to the bitter end will be Republican moderates. To his credit, Senate President Steve Morris seems to be holding strong.
“We will make the necessary adjustments within our existing revenues to make sure we end up with a balanced budget."Pressure will be applied to Morris and other moderate Republicans, just like it was when Sebelius decided to not pay state employees to take advantage of the "crisis." Morris nearly caved then, will he be able to hold out now?
The unknown variable here is the tea parties. Will the thousands who turned out April 15 stay involved and apply their own pressure to legislators and Sebelius to not increase taxes to fix their own problems?
You won't see any betting odds from me just yet...