Thursday, May 7, 2009

Wasinger holds fundraiser at stem-cell lobbying firm

Yesterday congressional candidate Rob Wasinger hosted a D.C. fund raiser for his campaign that is beginning to see signs of significant weakening. Wasinger was the candidate that ran out as quickly as he could to national pro-life leaders, seeking their endorsement as a way to marginalize his opponent and define himself as the only pro-life conservative.

So imagine my surprise when I got an email invitation to his D.C. fund raiser with an address listed for a lobbying firm that does work for the California Stem Cell Initiative. Of course, the invite didn't say that, several Google and searches told me that.

One of the hosts listed on the invitation is Steve Kupka. A quick search told me he was a lobbyist with Husch Blackwell Sanders LLC. Even though I wasn't able to find an address on the firm's website, a Google Map search of the firms name returned the same address as listed on Wasinger's invitation.

Another Google search revealed that the law firm had many clients, one of which was California Stem Cell Inc. On it's website it proudly proclaims it's mission.
California Stem Cell is focused on the production and supply of clinically relevant human cell populations, and their therapeutic application to human disease and injury.
Wow. The production and supply of human cell populations. How is this accomplished? What cells are being harvested? Embryonic cells? What kind of pro-life advocate is Wasinger, holding a fund raiser at a D.C. lobbying firm that helps the California Stem Cell initiative?

And let's not forget that Rob's for the little guy, the average Kansan. Because he understands us and what we need, after years on the east coast. And holding a D.C. fund raiser with D.C. lobbyists who advocate for embryonic stem cell research is what conservative Kansans in the first district want, right Rob?

It turns out
Husch Blackwell Sanders LLC has also given heavily to federal candidates in the Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska area, including Democrats Emanuel Cleaver, Dennis Moore, Nancy Boyda, Claire McCaskill and Dick Durbin. And on the flip side they've funded Sam Graves, Roy Blunt and other Republicans.

Why would a firm like that be interested in Rob? What could a firm that gives to both Democrats and Republicans want from a politician? Political favors? Is that what Rob meant when he said,
"as a former legislative assistant, legislative director, and chief-of-staff to Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), I know how to get things done in Congress." Is that how you get things done Rob?

I think Kansans are tired of the way you "get things done" Rob.

Does this mean Rob isn't pro-life? No, I'm not going to go that far. But as I've noted before, I don't believe conservatives will look to someone like D.C. Rob instead of the real McCoy Huelskamp. Just today Sen. Huelskamp was successful in passing through the House and Senate legislation that would defund Planned Parenthood. What has Rob done lately?

It's not about this particular incident, but the pattern that Rob has established of being a D.C. insider who is more interested in D.C. power than he is of furthering the interests of everyday, ordinary Kansans. That is the tragic story here.

Huelskamp successfully defunds Planned Parenthood

In all the interesting details I've been reviewing about the House concurring with the Senate's budget plan (or rather lack thereof), I failed to realize that this means Sen. Huelskamp was successful in defunding Planned Parenthood in Kansas. From an email blast I just got from Sen. Huelskamp:
“I am excited that both chambers of the Kansas Legislature have approved my amendment to remove taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood. With Kansas facing a budget crunch, this would be a big victory for the taxpayers.”

If the bill is signed by Governor Mark Parkinson, Kansas will join six other states in the defunding of Planned Parenthood.
So it looks like the budget debate in the governor's office will be mighty interesting indeed.

House liberals win

It looks as though the House has concurred on the Senate's plan to cut 2.75% of the budget. That means the hole isn't really fixed as the Senate plan didn't fix the entire deficit. That also means there will be no conference committee between the House and the Senate. Basically House liberals decided no input into the Senate's budget was better than allowing any conservative input in the House.

How the rest of the hole will be filled isn't hard to figure out. Tax increases that everyone will scream are "revenue enhancements."

Democrats bench looks awfully empty

Hey, when the Wichita Eagle and KC Star both say the Democrats bench is empty, it's gotta be so, right?

The Eagle's editorial board notes that Sebelius' party building was exaggerated if one looks at registration numbers where Republicans still dominate Democrat's numbers. Of course, this is absolutely no surprise to any conservative Republican. Not the numbers but the fact that Democrats and liberals in general are just now starting to realize Sebelius could have cared less about Kansas or her party. Kathleen was in it for Kathleen and she was willing to throw anyone else around her under the bus to get what she wanted.

House Minority Leader Paul Davis still hasn't come to this realization yet. He still thinks the party's limited success in '06 wasn't because of Sebelius.
"I don’t think the success of the party is just about her.”
Well if it isn't about her then who was it about? And why do things look so bleak for you guys now that she's gone? Kathleen had her own people so scared even now that she's in Washington they still won't fess up to reality.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Following the educrats example

A letter to the editor in today's Topeka Capital-Journal has inspired me to follow the educrats example rather than do what they say. Kathy Cook, director of Kansas Families for Education, advocates for increased taxes...sorry..."revenue enhancements" balance the budget and stop any cut to education that might be considered.

It's really too bad the education lobby has chosen a tax cheat to advocate for higher taxes to keep the sacred education funding cow. As Wichita Liberty pointed out before, Kathy Cook hasn't exactly been the good citizen she wants everyone else to be. Seems she's had some problems paying her property taxes.

I certainly don't know her situation and honestly I don't really care. Under normal circumstances, I could care less which people pay their property taxes and which don't. That's between them and the tax man. But for goodness sakes, don't come to me, a decent, taxpaying citizen, for more money for your pet projects that have already seen nearly a 50% increase in funding over just a five year period when you yourself are not willing to pay up. It's hypocrisy at its worst.

Cook is exactly the kind of person that will likely benefit from Legislator's new tax "amnesty" program to fix the budget gap. The very people who want to tax me to death for their pet projects get to cheat on their taxes and then never pay any consequences.

Get ready, the Senate wants a tax increase

The TEA party protesters will have their best chance yet to stop unwarranted taxing and spending. The Kansas Legislature is under a deadline this week to balance the budget and the state Senate signaled yesterday that it intends to balance it through tax increases. It's so bad even the "mainstream media" is putting "revenue enhancements" in quotation marks.

"Moderate" Republicans along with Democrats passed a budget balancing bill that institutes an across the board cut of 2.75% but doesn't balance the budget. Instead they plan to raise taxes on Kansas businesses already hurting and probably cause even more job losses in the private sector. Of course, they have no problem with this because public jobs are still growing, and that's where we should be giving our undivided attention, right?

Senate leadership also wants to allow tax cheats to pay their late bills in order to close the gap. This is a tax increase on everyone. Paying late without penalties is a tax cut in essence because the full amount owed to the state isn't being paid. Those who suffer are responsible citizens who paid on time. Why should I pay my taxes if I can pay a year or two later and use the money I would have given to the state for something else? Why have tax deadlines if we have no intention of enforcing them?

Senate leadership wants to talk about "shared sacrifice." What leadership doesn't understand, and citizens are going to have to explain, is that taxpayers and businesses have been "sharing" the sacrifice for a very long time already. While the number of public jobs increased by 1.9% the past year, the number of private sector jobs decreased by 1.9%. The private sector has been "sharing" quite a bit more than the public sector already. After increasing spending by 48% over four years, it's time the public welfare sector do its part and stop pushing the bill off onto Kansas taxpayers.

Here's how Senator's voted on the Masterson amendment that would have balanced the budget without a tax increase. Click on the Senator's name for information on how to contact them.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Is safety more important than racial profiling?

Is the safety of the public more important than the issue of racial profiling?
Steve Cisneros, executive director of the governor's Hispanic and Latino American Affairs Commission and a member of the state profiling task force, said profiling is a lesser concern than safety. He added that he recently spoke with a Hispanic woman whose daughter was killed in a car accident while not wearing a seat belt. "She said, 'I wish my daughter was here to tell me she was racially profiled. Now I have to talk to her at the cemetery,'" Cisneros said.
Did I just read that right? Public safety trumps racial profiling? Would Cisneros have given the same response if asked about profiling used at airports to target potential terrorists? After all, public safety trumps racial profiling, right?

Is this the only argument the big brother government lovers have to answer the very real concern expressed by Rep. Brenda Landwehr that primary seat belt laws could lead to more racial profiling by law enforcement? Apparently. Either that or it was a very poorly thought out attack on a lawmaker by Dion Lefler at the Wichita Eagle.

As if that wasn't enough, Cisneros decides that he needs to use a deceased woman to drive home the point that it's better for someone to be alive than to be discriminated against. I guess it never occurred to anyone on the left that it doesn't take a government official to pull a seat belt across your body and click it. Why don't we strive for seat belt use AND no racial profiling? Why does Cisneros believe the two are mutually exclusive?

More evidence Democrats got royally screwed by Sunflower deal

More evidence is coming to light today that Kansas Democrats got royally screwed by the Sunflower agreement. That is, besides almost every Kansas Democrat saying it.

KTKA 49 in Topeka is reporting that the two plant in Garden City that Sunflower agreed to decommission haven't been used in 20 years. So glad the environmental lobby held out on that one to "off-set" CO2 emissions from the new Holcomb plant.
The 4 megawatt and 8 megawatt units in Garden City have not been used because they are inefficient to run, said Sunflower spokeswoman Cindy Hertel. But, she said, they are available for use in case of an emergency.
Ouch! That's gotta hurt!

As if that wasn't enough enjoyment for me, it looks like the libs at the KC Star have finally lost their nearly seven year admiration of Queen Kathleen. Mike Hendricks actually blames her for Parkinson caving.

No doubt, many Democrats are cussing Parkinson for caving to pressure from the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and the Republican Legislature. But it’s not him they should scorn. Sebelius picked the guy. They should blame her.

Hilarious! In a way I think he's right, but not because she picked the guy. What Republicans (at least conservatives) have known for years and Kansas Democrats have been in blissful ignorance of, is that Queen Kathleen could care less about Kansas or the Democratic Party. She only cares about herself. Thus the quick exit to D.C. when she could have stayed and fought for a U.S. Senate seat.

It's always been about Kathleen. Anybody who says otherwise is still in blissful, nostalgic ignorance.


Not sure how I missed this, but as I noted earlier, it looks like Holcomb may eventually get its second plant anyway. From the Cap-Journal:
He said another troubling element in the agreement granted Sunflower the opportunity in two years to seek a second state permit for construction of another new coal unit at Holcomb.
So it looks like I wasn't out in left field earlier. Even more evidence Democrats lost big time.

Republican leadership needs to get a clue

News is breaking today from the Lawrence Journal-World that Republican legislative leaders gave some hefty bonuses to their staff while at the same time seeking cuts to state employee salaries.

That's not to say the article wasn't a hit piece. Only House leadership was mentioned and I'm sure Senate leaders were involved as well. Plus it doesn't mention what Democrats were doing with their pay scale, so I'm going to guess the paper never checked. And after all the nice things I had to say about them.

In the end leadership should have known how this would look, especially when trying to cut state employee salaries (which should be done.) As much as everyone likes to blame the media, this fiasco falls squarely on those handing out the checks. Honestly, who couldn't have seen this one coming?

Why Sunflower is a victory for Republicans

The compromise struck yesterday between Gov. Mark Parkinson and Sunflower Electric was a beautiful compromise to bring jobs and economic development to western Kansas. For once Topeka put the interests of working Kansans first rather than their political point.

But like everything today the Holcomb Power Plants were a political decision. Of course they never should have been a political decision, but former Gov. Sebelius and KDHE Sec. Bremby made sure it was a political issue. Next time you get tired of non-political things being made political, you can thank Queen Kathleen.

Republicans cleaned up in this battle for the ages, lets face it. Yes, only one plant will be built and yes, green provisions will have to be complied with that will significantly raise electric rates for all Kansans. But let's look at what the other side had to give up to get a little green. The plant that is going to be build is much larger than the original 700MW proposal from Sebelius. Plus it includes the latest technology which Sunflower would have included anyway.

Most importantly, KDHE Sec. Bremby has been stripped of his "authority" to stop any future permits based solely on CO2. In other words, should Sunflower decide another plant is necessary in the future and meets all federal and state requirements (as it did before!) then KDHE will have to issue the permit. And remember this will most likely be done under a Governor Brownback. Perhaps this wasn't what was in mind when the deal was struck, but it's certainly a possibility that's crossed my mind.

Further, one has to ask why Parkinson was so eager to strike a compromise. Was his control of Democrats at risk? Did he see the writing on the wall and decided one plant was better than two? I don't think that will ever come out, but clearly Kansas Democrats and environmental wackos lost yesterday and Kansas Republicans cleaned up.

Steve Rose says vetoed abortion bills are constitutional

Okay, so the headline is a little misleading. But not by much.

Steve Rose, publisher of the JoCo Sun, wrote an editorial that gives his take on how the state will look when Sam Brownback is elected Governor. First, there's this little tidbit.
Under Sam Brownback, there will be no checks and balances with the conservative Legislature.
Well, shucks Steve, I guess I must have missed the editorial you ran blasting Obama and Democrats because of the lack of checks and balances between Congress and the President. Perhaps you were waiting for a filibuster proof majority in the Senate before running that piece, huh? I'd say now would be the time to run it. Or is it only unbalanced when conservatives are in control? You might want to clarify that one.

To me what is most freighting is that his hypothetical isn't even true. Perhaps the 2010 elections will shift the House to be more conservative, but the Senate will remain in the hand of Morris and Vratil, hardly my definition of conservative. And I wouldn't exactly call the House conservative either, having just reject a completely reasonable 2010 budget. So while I appreciate the cred Rose is handing out, it seems to be mostly self serving so he can frighten people into not voting for Brownback.

As entertaining as that was, this is my favorite part.
Every conceivable anti-abortion piece of legislation that is constitutional will be approved by Sam Brownback.
Isn't that interesting? Every piece that is constitutional will be approved. So, what's he saying about the past? That every piece of legislation that was constitutional was rejected by Sebelius? I thought the party line was that anything the Legislature passed was unconstitutional? That's the last reason she gave before jetting off to D.C. Does Rose disagree with Queen Kathleen? It seems like it.

So there you have it. Even the liberals think past abortion policy changes in Kansas were constitutional. Hats off to Rose for finally having the guts to admit it, even if it was just in a passive absent-minded editorial.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Coal plant breakthrough: Parkinson, Sunflower reach an agreement

Shocking news out of Topeka today; Gov. Mark Parkinson and Sunflower Electric have reached an agreement to build one 895 megawatt coal plant in western Kansas instead of the previous two 700 megawatt plants. The deal also calls for utilities to generate 20% of their energy from renewable sources by 2020.

What a victory for Sunflower and Republicans. With Queen Kathleen out of the picture, true bipartisan solutions could be made. Or perhaps Parkinson was already loosing his grip on Democrats in the Legislature? No one may ever know.

The biggest victory for Republicans was stopping a state carbon tax that would have devastated our economy for decades to come. Republicans can also claim victory for a REAL stimulus package for Kansas; jobs created in the private sector at no cost to taxpayers.

Sen. Huelskamp also noted the defeat of a carbon tax in the agreement.
“One of the original proposals to deal with this KDHE decision was the implementation of a carbon tax. That would have been a horrible precedent for Kansas and the nation. So I am thrilled that no such requirements are part of this agreement.”
The deal still requires a bill to be passed by both the House and Senate, but with Sunflower's blessing passage is all but assured.

What a great day for a Republican led Legislature working on real solutions. More importantly, what a victory for Kansans getting the jobs and private economic development they need.

Big spenders should write "delayed tax cuts" in stone

No one wants to admit that stopping a phased out tax cut is a tax increase. Democrats and Republicans alike want to call it everything they can without calling it a "tax increase." Apparently taxes can take a third direction besides up or down.

And of course, we should all just trust them on this one. You know, it's just for a little bit. "We'll phase the tax out eventually, trust us, we're politicians and we always follow through on our promises! We're like Wal-Mart. Always low taxes. Always."

That's the faith Democrats and "moderate" Republicans are asking of fiscally responsible legislators and the public. They want to stop the phase out of the death tax and the franchise tax, but what they won't say, and what isn't being reported, is that there is no timetable in any of the proposed bills that would continue the phase out of tax cuts approved several years ago. Rather than lambasting the fiscally responsible, how about a show of good faith by setting a new timetable to continue phasing out these unfair and irresponsible taxes? I thought it was all about compromise? How about a little compromise on the part of the tax and spenders; be willing to put your promises into statute.

There's a good reason a timetable will never be set. It's not because it couldn't be changed later. After all, the current timetable can be adjusted with just a majority passage of a bill. No, there's a much more sinister reason tax and spend politicians don't want to set a timetable into statute; because then they'd have to publicly change the timetable again in a couple of years when their out of control spending can't be supported by the tax base.

It's really that simple. It's much easier to promise a tax cut in the future without having to ever vote on it than it is to put it in statute and have to take a public vote in a few years to change it again. After all, if it's just a verbal promise then come election time it can be the "other" guy's fault a proposal never came to a vote. Put an actual delay in statute and each and every legislator automatically becomes responsible for their vote and whether or not they'll follow through on their "delay" promises.

(Why the photo? I don't know. I just think Paul Davis is a really scary looking person.)

Worshiping at the alter of the great pollster

As I've stated before, I try my best to not worship at the alter of the great pollster. I would say more times than not, liberals and socialist Democrats look to polls to decide which side of an issue they should be on or which way to vote on a bill. Now, Republicans do their fair share too, but overall it seems to be the left who push polls as a reason for politicians to take action.

What scares me the most is how polls are now being used to convince the public which side of an issue they should take. It's the tell a lie long enough people begin to believe it problem.

With that said, it seems Kansans aren't so hot on the new administration anymore, and that includes our illustrious former governor. An April 28 poll shows Obama's approval rating at 44%, an 18 point drop since he took office. Interestingly, the largest gap of approval/disapproval was in 18 to 34 years of age with 39% approving and a whopping 55% disapproving. Sebelius is also below 50% checking in at 46%. That's 9 points lower than a March poll.

Does that mean it'll be easy for Republicans to clean up in 2010? I doubt it. I think Kansans are getting sick and tired of politicians who say one thing and do another. Republicans should be held just as accountable as Democrats in that regard.

Mostly I enjoy pointing these polls out because a few months ago the left would have everyone believe that a favorable approval rating for the President meant that Kansas was now a Democratic state and everyone elected in 2010 would be liberal. Polls are just that, a small sampling of what may be going on in the general public. The only polls that really matter happen in August and November of 2010.

MSM: Time to pat the good on the back

Get ready for a surprise. I have good things to say about both the Lawrence Journal-World and the Topeka Capital-Journal.

The Lawrence Journal-World isn't as balanced as I'd like it to be, but in my judgment they do a much better job than the Wichita Eagle or the KC Star. Even though I know they selectively pick some letters to the editor, they also report some stories that other publications won't touch. For that reason, I have to give them a pat on the back.

Further, the Journal-World does some of the best local reporting around. They certainly blow the big city papers out of the water in this regard. Even though I think sometimes they can have a bias, they actually do in depth stories that their local populous want to read. That should be commended.

There's certainly room for improvement. A more balanced local editorial section would be great, but overall, the Journal-World does a pretty good job.

The Cap-Journal does even better. I've noticed a considerable change in the tone of the newspaper over the past three or four years. I don't know if there has been a management change or what, but the editorial page has certainly changed. This weekend's defense of state employee pay cuts is a prime example. The comments are just grueling. I'd love to know how many of them are employed by the state! Other editorials just like it can be found here, here, here and here.

I've noticed more and more local and state stories in the Cap-Journal that I won't find anywhere else. As always, there's room for improvement. But the Cap-Journal has already made tons of strides toward a more balanced publication over the past few years and they should be commended for it.