Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): May 2016

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Sad Story

Uh, guys, the Kansas House Republicans have a blog. I did not know this. That is sad.

The end.

KC Royals endorse Sam Brownback

Water is wet. The sky is blue. Tim Carpenter wrote an incredibly stupid story about Republicans.

I think Topeka C-J reporter Carpenter intended this piece he wrote about Rep. Brett Hildabrand campaigning while wearing a Jerry Moran t-shirt as a hit piece. 

Brownback once campaigned wearing a Royals baseball jersey. I did some searching and I did not find the Carpenter piece where Paul Davis expressed his disappointment in the Royals for endorsing Brownback. 

This story is so, so vapid. 

Who You Gonna Call? Ryckman and Brownback

For about 5 minutes, it appeared that legislators and the Brownback Administration were abroad train Tell the Court to Suck Eggs.

Now it appears folks may be going wobbly. Rumor has it, the Governor is wavering. He absolutely cannot. We cannot allow the Court to continue down this ridiculous path in which the Court holds public school children hostage and the taxpayers are robbed.

Since about 2005, the state of Kansas has played this cat and mouse game where the Court demands more money, the Legislature complains and then hands it over. At this point, the Court is drunk with power--the school lawyers are drunk with cash-- and to pony up more money is enabling a bunch of addicts. 

It's got to stop, and now is actually the perfect time. The Governor won't stand for election again. There's no way the Republicans lose the majority. It's highly unlikely the moderates and Dems can stage enough of a coup to create a majority. The current Speaker Ray Merrick isn't running for reelection. These are all people who can fall on their swords for the greater good. They need to do it. It appears Merrick is ready to take that step, however, there are others unwilling to show the great courage necessary to keep the train on the tracks.

The Governor's Office needs to hear from you. Brownback needs to hear that we're sick and exhausted and broke. Every dime taken out of our pockets to buy school administrators vacation homes is a pay cut to taxpayers.

And the other person who needs to hear this from you: Rep. Ron Ryckman, or Junior, as he sometimes called. (913.927.5333)

Junior steers the ship where money issues are concerned in the House. And this school funding issue is a big money problem.

If Junior wants to be prove he's capable of being Speaker after a mere 4 years in the House, now is the time for him to show bold leadership. If Junior wants to be the Conductor of the Kansas House train, he needs to engineer a Court stand off.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Brownback Should Refuse to Negotiate with Terrorists

It's clear the hucksters are never going to stop suing the state for more money. It's time to call their bluff.

This is going to require real stones. Fortunately, we may have men in leadership poised to act as men should -- they should protect and defend THE CHILDREN, who, come August could be held hostage by a small group of unelected lawyers selected by secret committee.

Gov. Brownback should decline to call a special session of the Kansas Legislature. Hasty decisions are rarely wise, and a special session with a looming deadline during a tumultuous election season is the definition of haste. It's a virtual guarantee of a horrible solution to a problem created by people who never had the power to close schools in the first place. 

Call the Court's bluff. 

Announce that the 2017 legislature will address the parts of the school funding that the Court deemed unconstitutional, but the schools will be funded as planned next fall. Announce that the treasury will cut checks to school districts, and at this point, it's up to local school boards to go about the business of educating THE CHILDREN as usual. 

The House and the Senate should close the 2016 session without considering legislation related to school funding. Again, hasty decisions are rarely wise, and this is a big one. 

We are essentially in a hostage situation, and giving in to terrorist demands is a great way to encourage future hostage situations. 

Call the Court's bluff.

While it's time for the Governor to step up and lead with courage and grace, it's time for grassroots conservatives to build the Governor up. We have a Governor who is moved to tears because people don't like him. It's obvious Brownback will falter without a strong base of support. Your job, people who have regular access to the Governor, is to daily, hourly tell Brownback that he's doing the right thing. Remind him that great leaders do what's right even in the face of rude opposition. History doesn't revere the thin-skinned. Great movements are the work of the bold. Be bold, Brownback. Be courageous and brave. 

Call the Court's bluff.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Man Up, Conservatives

Here is the full text of Article 6 of the Kansas Constitution:

§ 6: Finance.(a) The legislature may levy a permanent tax for the use and benefit of state institutions of higher education and apportion among and appropriate the same to the several institutions, which levy, apportionment and appropriation shall continue until changed by statute. Further appropriation and other provision for finance of institutions of higher education may be made by the legislature.(b) The legislature shall make suitable provision for finance of the educational interests of the state. No tuition shall be charged for attendance at any public school to pupils required by law to attend such school, except such fees or supplemental charges as may be authorized by law. The legislature may authorize the state board of regents to establish tuition, fees and charges at institutions under its supervision.(c) No religious sect or sects shall control any part of the public educational funds.
The Kansas Supreme Court issued a 47-page screed mansplaining their interpretation of those 145 words. People who can read should be offended. 

From those 145 words, a group of unelected lawyers selected by secret committee somehow determined that Kansas schools need about $38 million more to be adequately, suitably funded. (That estimate is courtesy of one of the lawyers poised to take a huge cut of the cash, so caveat emptor.)

I'm no Constitutional scholar (and I'm going to go out on a limb and say neither are the majority of our so-called "Supreme" Court members), but it seems like the legislature is responsible for making funding decisions. It's almost like that's its primary role.

It's quite telling that everyone with half a brain knew how this ruling was going to go down, and not because anyone could put to words exactly how the funding was unconstitutional, but because the Court maintains this continuous charade in which they demand more money and the Legislature (and taxpayers) just hand it over. We knew this was coming, because this Court is corrupt--not because we read the Constitution and the Classroom Learning Assuring Student Success Act and thought: those two don't jibe. NO ONE DID THAT! And most Kansans can read -- even those who attended public schools!

I find the suggestion that the Court will order schools closed completely laughable. The Court has no authority other than what the people give them. Yes, we have some papers that suggest the Court can give orders. But who is the enforcement arm of that body? 

School boards could and should decide to open. Those responsible for cutting the checks to school districts, should go ahead and cut checks to districts. Teachers should show up. Administrators should show up, and the state, which funnels money to the county, which funnels money to school districts should cut checks to pay all of the staff.

All honest people should agree that children's education should not be held hostage to this process. (And I'm saying that as someone who typically puts air quotes around the words "public education.") 

No funding or policy decisions should be made under duress. That's just asinine. And, I note, that's not how good decisions are made. 

Giving legislators only a few short days to come up with a funding solution that will please a court determined to be unappeased as long as conservatives hold office in Kansas is impossible. I guarantee you the Schools for Fair Funding lawyers who have grown extraordinarily wealthy off the backs of Kansas taxpayers are already firing up their next lawsuits. These ambulance chasers will not stop until they have enough to send their great-great-great-great grandchildren to the poshest private schools in America. (Or until their villas in the Swiss Alps are paid off.)

At some point, Kansans need to call the Court's bluff. This has gotten out of hand. It's always been stupid. Kansas taxpayers don't have an endless supply of money. It's time we stop acting like ATMs for this corrupt, politicized court.

I have a lot more thoughts on this, but unlike the members of the KS Supreme Court, I don't spend the majority of my days golfing or lounging by the pool, only to step away from my long term vacation to disrupt the vacations of conservatives and taxpayers -- WHO TOIL AWAY the majority of days to fund the lavish lifestyles of Kansas justices. This is my long form way of saying, it's a holiday. I'm going to spend time with my family and friends. I'm going to spend some time remembering those who are no longer with us. 

If you are a grassroots conservative, and you take one second away from your family and friends to think on this steaming pile of bile from the Supreme Court, and you wonder what you can do: Right now, I would say shoot your legislator an email and promise your blood, sweat and tears this campaign season. Money is great, but your time may be more valuable. Every minute legislators spend in Topeka trying to appease the Supreme Court is a minute they can't be on the campaign trail. They're going to need your help, so offer it and mean it.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Court to Kansans: Hand over Your Wallets and Back Away Slowly

In a move that stunned absolutely no one, a handful of justices issued a ruling that the Kansas Legislature's plan to give public schools more money than they received last year is unconstitutional.

As a final, political jab at all common sense Kansans, the justices issued their scribbling demand that no school district ambulance chasers be left behind at 4:40 on the Friday before the Memorial Day holiday. Such a Jerk Store Jones move.This was smarmy timing, and I note that people reserve news that late Friday afternoons before a holiday weekend to spare themselves public embarrassment and shame. These judges (or as we should start calling them, unelected lawyers selected by a secret committee) are bad people. 

I have an absolute hair brained idea of how conservatives should rise to this challenge. I will blog about it tomorrow at length.

In the meantime, I leave you with this: It's gut check time, and I really hope Republican legislators -- the real Republicans, not those weird people from northeast Johnson County pretending to be Republicans--have the stones to man up to this challenge. They should have done it circa 2005, the first time Gannon and friends sued for more money.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Kansan to Serve as Trump Political Director?

A Bloomberg reporter on Twitter suggests that Alan Cobb, I think yes, that Alan Cobb, may be tapped to serve as Donald Trump's political director.

Cobb has been working as consultant for Trump. (I wish you could see my face as I type those words, because it's a face of pain and suffering.)

Oh wait, it looks something like this:

Cobb once worked as an aide for Bob Dole. (Dole once criticized Trump, but then seemed to come around when it looked like Sen. Ted Cruz might get the nomination. I am still scratching my head as to why there seems to be a reporter stationed at Bob Dole's door at all times. Give the guy a rest already.) 

Cobb also served as the state director for Americans for Prosperity. He's also lobbied for Koch Industries. Easy there, libs. It's OK to work for the Kochs.

I am still debating whether it's acceptable to work for Trump. 

If tapped for the role, Cobb would replace Rick Wiley. I can't tell you anything about Wiley or the other folks rumored to be in consideration for the job -- Ken McKay or Ed Brookover.

Cobb's a nice enough guy, perhaps too nice to work for Trump. I don't know him well enough to know whether he would consider it selling a piece of his soul to work for Trump, but I can say without certainty, my conscience won't even allow me to vote for the guy. I think Cobb should take a hard pass. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Kitchen Is Too Hot for Wolf (Not that one. The OTHER one.)

Update: I was right. Wolf is retiring. The poor journalists who have to get quotes before writing are now filing their stories.

There are a lot of cooks in Kansas' kitchen. So many, that apparently it's boiling hot in the Kansas Legislature, and especially toasty in the Kansas Senate.

Sen. Garrett Love won't be sticking around. Michael O'Donnell is running for greener pastures, the county commission, and Sen. Jeff King is defecting.

Today, rumors abound that Sen. Kay Wolf is also jumping out of the frying pan that is the Kansas Senate. I can't find anywhere that her retirement has been announced, but Rep. Barbara Bollier is seeking that seat in the Senate. I can't imagine Bollier challenging Wolf. Wolf has already filed, and so has a Democrat, Jerry Stogsdill. (They're ALL running on a platform of kids going to school in Taj Mahal buildings with dozens of six figure administrators where every kid takes home an Ipad aren't getting enough money from your pocketbook. Blech.)

My Magic 8 Ball says Wolf will retire from the Kansas Senate. She's been there one term, but was in the house for several terms.

Rock Chalk Head Scratch

I’m embarrassed to report that Kansas universities are going the way of Missouri’s mega campus. No they’re not ramping up meth production, but Kansas public universities are taking a page from the social justice-y types. Shudder. Full stop.

Obviously, the most egregious of examples come from Rock Chalk University where a professor tweets that he hopes the sons and daughters of NRA members are murdered and keeps his job. He enjoyed the support of faculty, journalists, students. (As in the University of Missouri case where a professor was revealed to be an absolute lemming, the KU professor was, of course, a journalism professor. So yes, totally keep giving the journalists coming from Kansas schools complete access to the Statehouse and the Governor’s Office. They’ve been trained so well!) Over at Wheat Waving U, the faculty defended the professor who wanted to murder the children of people with whom he disagrees, but the faculty senate actually filed briefs suggesting that an economics professor not be given the same rights as other faculty. Art Hall, they said, shouldn’t have any rights to academic privacy—like all of the other liberal professors on campus—because Hall once worked for Koch Industries. I kid you not. The faculty went after the guy.

The Wheat Wavers most recently demanded that one of their own be fired. Andrea Quenette was canned last month for using the n-word in class. It’s important to note, she was using the word to admit her own shortcomings where race was concerned. The white woman was literally checking her privilege, but some of the special little snowflakes in her class felt micro-aggressed, so Quenette was placed on administrative leave and summarily fired at the end of the year. Quenette was a communications professor. (I’m seeing a pattern here. Maybe it’s time to close the communications schools at our state universities? I kid. Kind of.)

Partially in response to Quenette’s micro-aggressions and protests on campus in the fall of 2015, the University of Kansas issued a report from the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Group. Prepare to weep. I’ll hit a few of the highlights, but feel free to vomit on the entire 29-page report, here.

Here are just a few of the things KU plans to do to make the special little snowflakes feel warm and fuzzy:
  •  Recognize Indigenous People’s Day (I’ll have to check  my calendar. Is this a thing?)
  • Enhance efforts to provide general-neutral or all-gender restroom options campus wide
  • Recognize and support the effort to create the Multicultural Student Government (Because separate but equal has a glorious past in Kansas.)
  •  Place Student Senate under immediate review, and restructure student governance so that it functions in a more participatory, inclusive and representative manner.
  •  Actively include courses related to social justice,  inclusion, equity, and diversity
  •  Foster opportunities for mid-career faculty of color in the  areas of professional skills building, advancement,  pathways to promotion, and opportunities for leadership  and the department, school/college, and University levels (This suggestion so grieves me. It’s breathtakingly offensive. You see, faculty of color, you can’t advance unless the nice white people on campus give you a hand up.)
  •  Provide immediate cultural competency training for all staff and administrators with responsibility for official University social media accounts
  •  Constitute the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Council as an ongoing body, independent from, but directly advising the Chancellor and Provost.
  •  Develop and disseminate a comprehensive, and accessible, guide for where faculty, staff, and students can go with formal and informal grievances related to issues of inclusion in our University community.

And then these two gems related to guns. I’m still scratching my head trying to figure out what guns on campus has to do with diversity, inclusion, social justice, or the gender binary. Guns are a great equalizer, especially if you take the time to learn how to shoot one. But just for good measure, the privilegers at KU want your gun to feel excluded, I guess.

  • Establish a comprehensive policy to manage firearms and gun safety on campus, and adopt a campus safety plan for students and personnel in the event of an active shooter.
  •  As part of campus protocols regarding guns on campus, monitor and record Public Safety Office contact with visitors, students and personnel of color stemming from emergency calls.

And finally, there’s this:
  •  Provide financial support for the Asian and Asian-American Faculty Staff Council, Black Faculty and Staff Council, Latino Faculty and Staff Council, Native Faculty and Staff Council and the Sexuality and Gender Diversity Consortium.

Of course, the insane irony of all of this nonsense is that KU is a very diverse campus, where it appears minorities aren’t just welcomed but elevated to the highest positions of power and influence. 

Um. The school’s chancellor, Bernadette Gray-Little, is a black woman. The incoming Student Body President, Stephonn Alcorn, is black. If the highest positions on staff and in the student body of the University are held by minorities, how much more inclusive can the school get? I don’t even…

The whole thing is a train wreck, rolling down the tracks to exciting destinations like Lower Enrollment, Dumber College Students, and Shame on Our State! These are places I have no interest in visiting. They’re also places I have no desire to fund at levels above existing ones.

So, into this embarrassment of a public education institution, we come to cries from the Whining Whiners Who Whine about tuition increases and supposed state funding cuts. After the embarrassing year the state’s most vaunted higher learning institution just completed, I think Jayhawk U should count itself fortunate that the state provides a single cent of taxpayer money. I’m grieved that the Governor’s revised budget—which cut the amount of money the state PLANNED to give to state universities—increases funding by $1.5 million to public institutions. Only 2 of the 6 public universities received an actual cut over the previous year’s funding. Sadly, KU is getting about 1 percent more than it did last year, while K-State and Wichita State are facing actual cuts.

In the face of these so-called cuts, the universities are seeking tuition hikes. I’ll be honest: I’d probably tie tuition rates to areas of study. If you want to study something useless and stupid like women’s studies, the science of puppetry, or gender binary codes of justice or whatever, I’d probably charge more. A lot more. How does the state of Kansas benefit by having more puppetry experts in its ranks? And then I’d charge less for degrees that actually benefit the state. I keep hearing we’re short on computer scientists, all the STEM professions, the other majors of Star Trek fans. If taxpayers are going to subsidize public universities, we should get our money’s worth.

I’m an absolute advocate of public subsidized higher educational pursuits, but the educations being pursued at KU at this moment seem like a giant waste of my money. The university's constant demands for more cash, despite the fact that its faculty, staff, and students, should probably be in rubber rooms makes me feel so micro-agressed.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Wolf to Challenge Moran??

Chapman Rackaway spoke at the Wichita Pachyderm Club last Friday. Rackaway, a professor at Fort Hays State University, theorized that Milton Wolf will challenge Sen. Jerry Moran. Bob Weeks at Wichita Liberty has the audio here

Let me rewind to 2014's ugly blood letting. Wolf came dangerously close to unseating Roberts. Wolf lost by 8 percent, or 19,000 votes. That's impressive for a guy who has no elected office experience.

Wolf summarily shut down his campaign account at the end of 2015. His campaign spent $1.3 million in 2014. He'll need a war chest if he plans to take on Moran, who is sitting on millions, $3.2 million, according to Open Secrets

I have noticed that Wolf has gotten a bit more vocal on the Twitter and the Facebook. Moran's recent buffoonery certainly gives a candidate an opening. However, if it wasn't a wide enough opening for someone like Mike Pompeo -- which stay tuned on that front, I think I know what fell out of his closet that prevented him from running-- I have trouble believing that Wolf can capitalize on Moran's mistakes. 

Still, there's time. Wolf did receive ample support from several national organizations that may be itching for a fight.
The filing deadline is quickly approaching.

Too Hot in the Kitchen

Rep. Don Hill will not seek re-election, according to Twitter and Facebook posts from Don Hineman.

Hill, you'll recall, is a "moderate" who was tossed from a Kansas House committee, supposedly for his support for Medicaid expansion.

I have no other information, but those who do, feel free to email: gidget.southway@gmail.com.

Democrats Beg RINOs to Register as Dems

The Kansas Democrats are hosting a huge drive to capture party members. By huge drive, I mean, they have a Facebook page. The JoCo Dems have a blog. They’ve made a video, and they’re sending Facebook messages to people they suspect lean left and begging them, BEGGING, to register as Democrats before June 1 to vote in the Democratic primary.

Some of the efforts may be part of a broader campaign. The Democrat National Committee is even having a drive asking people to share their stories of why they are Democrats. This seems odd and desperate to me -- like they’re trying to make people think they’re hip. Um. Not so much. (Feel free to compare the photos below for visual evidence.)

Kansas Dems. Doing Something.

Kansas Republicans. Posing with their second oldest member. (Bob Dole was unavailable.)

I’ve been digging for several hours and can’t find any decent information, but I *think* this new campaign begging left-leaners to register as Dems, rather than as Mods in red Kansas, is related to how the DNC funds and assists campaigns, candidates, and state parties. If the Dems don’t have enough registered voters, the party says, no funding or less funding, and the Kansas Dems lose delegates.

The Kansas Democratic Party is hurting, and for the last several cycles, its members have helped elect so-called moderate Republicans. That tide is about to turn in the wake of the Dems’ latest efforts, making this cycle one of the best opportunities for Kansas Republicans to elect more conservative Republicans in purple districts.

If you’re a conservative thinking about primarying a so-called moderate, I submit there will never be a greater opportunity than this election cycle. As the Kansas Donkey Party attempts to disengage its members from the Republican Party-- an effort I fully support, by the way-- conservatives have a real opportunity to win some light-pink districts as the Dems syphon voters back to their party.

As an aside, the registration deadline is quickly approaching. We’ll know a lot more about the upcoming election come June 1. However, I do not believe the ballot will be fully set on that date. Independent candidates have until Aug. 1 to file. In this wacky election cycle, I have a suspicion we’re going to see a few candidates who don’t identify with either major party on the ballot.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Elitist Reveals Desperation

I am planning on never having to write this guy's name again. Jay Sidie, the old white elitist the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee pulled from his Mission Hills mansion to run against Congressman Kevin Yoder, has shown his hand.

Sidie's grand scheme in his campaign to unseat Yoder is to tie Yoder to Gov. Sam Brownback. Friends, that's just desperation.

Other than being members of the same party, Brownback and Yoder have very, very little in common and very little overlap. When Brownback was in the state legislature the Kansas Secretary of Agriculture, Yoder wasn't even born yet. For the most part, when Brownback was in the Washington, Yoder was in the state legislature. When Brownback became Governor, Yoder was in Washington. 

I have scoured pages and pages of goofballs who constantly post photos of politicians on Facebook, and I can barely find moments in which the two men are even in the same room. Sidie may as well accuse Yoder of being in cahoots with everyone who has blue eyes. It's a real stretch. I'm not saying they don't like one another. I'm not saying they don't know one another. I am saying, however, that to try to paint Yoder with the Brownback brush is quite the Monet. 

"It's like a painting see? From far away, it's OK, but up close, it's a big old mess."

As the November election draws closer, that desperate attempt to make Yoder somehow unlikeable -- because he knows a guy-- is going to fail in ways that are going to be uncomfortable and embarrassing for everyone involved. It's that vapid.

And it clearly shows the Dems don't plan to run on policy in the Kansas 3rd. They plan to run on At Least He's Not Brownback. I'm pretty sure Paul Davis tried that a year and a half ago against actual Brownback and it was an epic, epic fail.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Goode begats Sidie

For those keeping track, Greg Goode encouraged the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to find a Democrat to assist in a race for Kansas' 3rd Congressional District.

The DCCC dug into its bag of wealthy former union officials and out popped Jay Sidie. As I mentioned the other day, the Dems, who planned to sit this one out, decided maybe they could rally in Kansas' 3rd once they saw Congressman Kevin Yoder had a primary opponent.

Sidie is 57 and has never run for office. Leave it to the Dems to find a rich, old, elitist to carry their message of ending gender binaries. (Don't look it up. Barf.) 

Old, rich, white men from Mission Hills (Or Lake Quivira) know best.

Mission Possible: Earning Fair Press Coverage

You can't thumb through a newspaper or scroll through a social media feed without being bombarded with often rude, mostly disrespectful and largely inaccurate coverage of what's occurring in Kansas. I even find ill-fated mentions of Kansas and our Governor in places like Esquire Magazine. Yeah, that's a (classless) men's fashion periodical.

Clearly, our public relations needs an upgrade. No offense, friends in PR in the Governor's Office or the state legislature. For what it's worth, I think PR is the dark side of communications. It's gross, but necessary.

I'm going to make a few recommendations to improve the nature of the news that comes from the Capital. 

Limit Press Access


Yeah, I said it. Limit access. When media doesn't give you a fair shake, when they misquote or mislead and don't offer the opportunity to run a correction, deny access. Do not have a one-on-one sit down. Do not give a quote unless it's written down on a press release. Go out of your way to ensure that the biased reporter--and the publication the biased works for-- never gets a scoop. Issuing a press release, send it to a list of reasonable, fair reporters first. Seriously, keep two media lists, and give the fair reporters and publications and your friends the story first-- like two hours in advance. Rinse, cycle, repeat. I'm serious. Every time there's a story available-- every time you have 8,000 reporters calling for a quote about story 'X,' call John Hanna first. Give him an exclusive. A day later trot out the release for everyone else.

You don't have to tell people you're doing that, but you can subtly make it clear that you won't give any advantages to people who aren't going to be fair to you. This accomplishes two things: 1-- news outlets will realize if they want access, they'd better give you a chance to respond and run corrections and 2-- it moves them in your direction. They have no choice at all. If they want to maintain their ability to get scoops, to be a source of information for people who want it (and therefore an advertising draw), they need access to people of influence. Guess who decides who gets access to you? You!

If you write a release about this new plan to limit access, you're going to get beat up in the press. So I'm going to recommend against making a formal announcement, just start doing it. You have three days to respond to records requests, take all three days. Or have some lawyer in Derek Schmidt's office spend the entire 3 days penning a screed about why you don't have to turn over the record. (Just kidding. Don't do that. It's disgusting and Schmidt's office should be pretty ashamed of themselves for doing that when they receive a request.)

Kansas Legislators:

As individuals, you should definitely follow the above advice, too. Give access to those who will work with you. Lose the phone numbers of reporters and news directors who won't give you a fair shake.

Similarly, I do not understand why reporters in the Capital are allowed to run all over the floor of the House and the Senate. The practice allows reporters to ambush legislators before, after, and during debate. This is a great interview technique and a great way to get unscripted (stupid) quotes. 

In many other state legislatures, reporters are placed in the gallery or even behind glass!! In the Kansas House, for example, I suggest forcing media into the west gallery where they can be conveniently seated and corralled by communications staff. This isn't without precedence in other states. Would it enrage the media? Of course, but so what? They aren't your friends, and they're certainly doing you no favors. So stop rewarding them.

Expand People's Access

The beauty of the modern world is that news no longer has to be pressed through a meat grinder and packaged in a sausage casing. You can take information directly to the people. (Thanks, Internet.)

I am proud of Speaker Merrick's office for sending e-newsletters that contain tough language. These are being shared on social media regularly. When the only information you put out is rah-rah, people aren't likely to share that. By rah-rah, I mean something like this "A House majority voted in favor of HB 221, a bill that eliminates regulations for hair dressers." If you're going to bother sending an e-newsletter, give it some context. "Before the House approved HB 221, braiding hair for a free could get a person fined or thrown into jail. Smart legislators said no more by passing HB 221." (Not a real bill.)

Strong language isn't a bad thing. You have a message. So send it! You will receive harsh criticism (see the Dems' reaction to Merrick's latest newsletters), but so what? Some people aren't going to like you no matter what you say. The goal is to rally those who do and persuade those on the fence. 

The Kansas Legislature should work to immediately install cameras and live broadcast things as they happen on the floor. I give some credit to C-Span for some of the major advances in the conservative movement in modern history. The network began broadcasting from the U.S. House in 1979. It started covering both the House and the Senate gavel-to-gavel in 1986. 

The best way to get accurate information to the people is to give people access to news as its happening. Everyone who watches a legislative body in action will interpret the proceedings differently. No one is helped when every ounce of the interpretation comes from the hardcore left liberal members of the press and the libs on Twitter.

The Legislature can also give the people immediate access by publishing in PDF form online the testimony of those testifying in committees. When anyone is invited to testify to a committee, they are asked to submit written testimony. (And the committee likely receives almost ALL of the testimony in electronic form via email, because this is the 21st Century.)

But do you know what someone interested must do to have access to the pre-submitted, written testimony? Legislative staff sends it to the requester via snail mail. THEY PUT IT IN AN ENVELOPE WITH A STAMP. I don't even...

If you give people access to the information as its happens, rather than allowing it to pass through the sausage grinder that is the liberal press, many,  many people will come around to the conservative way of thinking. 

Fire up the cameras and live broadcasting at the same time you move the press to the gallery, and you dodge the public relations issue of removing the press from the legislative floor. 

Don't Feed the Trolls

When you allow the people access, you're going to find Internet trolls. You don't have to feed them. Ignore them. Be a happy warrior. If you have to block some people from your Twitter feed, comment section of your e-newsletter, or your Facebook page, do it. Your newsletter, your Facebook page, your Twitter account, these things belong to you. You wouldn't invite the trolls into your house to be rude to your family, so don't allow them to be rude to your supporters or the people who are truly just looking to be informed.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Head to Your Safe Spaces, Brownbackers

Our Governor is consistently a day late and a dollar short. Kansas is arguably the most conservative state in the nation boasting one of the most conservative Governors.

And yet, Gov. Brownback waits the news media equivalent of a half  year before responding to blackmail via the Obama Administration on public school bathrooms. Why bother releasing a statement about federal overreach so far after the fact?

It reeks of Brownback sticking his finger in the air and testing the wind. One reason the Kansas Governor's approval ratings are in the unisex toilet might be that he refuses to lead on issues for which he and his constituents should be a natural fit. Exhibit A: This stupid, ridiculous dog-wagging dictate from Herr Obama.

Brownback wastes no time vetoing unanimous decisions of the Kansas Legislature. And he's more than happy to be out front of the fight to bring a horse arena to KCK, but when push comes to shove, when conservative principles need a leader, Brownback is at the back of the line. Behind Texas, behind Alabama, behind Missouri (Gasp!), behind North Carolina... I could go on. Brownback waits until critical mass is reached and then throws his support in the direction of the strongest blast of wind. 

I don't get it.

KS Board of Education Pathetic

Ah. The bathroom wars. Perhaps the dumbest thing to enter the public sphere of debate since whatever people were arguing about last week.

Whether you think we should allow junior high boys into the girls locker room, there should be NO question that such a ruling for public schools shouldn't come from the White House. Reasonable, freedom loving people should all agree. There shouldn't even be a question.

Sadly, all of the reasonable freedom-loving people have left the planet, and so a divided Kansas State Board of Education could not agree to issue a not-even-strongly-worded letter critical to the Obama Administrations diktat that junior high boys have access to naked pre-teens whenever they feel like it.

Alas, six cowards and sycophants on the state board-- a majority-- determined they "needed more time" to study the issue before issuing a gently worded letter opposing to federal overreach.

Take note: The pathetic, jelly-spined board members who voted to table a letter include Janet Waugh, Carolyn Wims-Campbell, Sally Cauble, Kathy Busch, Jim McNeice, and Jim Porter. Maybe it's time we find their replacements?

Those who opposed tabling a non-issue letter that would have done nothing but taken a stand on federal bullying included John Bacon, Steve Roberts, Deena Horst, and Ken Willard.

Scooped! But I Can Dig It

I was going to write about this today, but the Kansas House Republicans, also known as Ray Merrick's staff, beat me to it. (Again, thank you, Merrick, for the parting gift of naming names and taking the battle to the streets.)

The Kansas House e-newsletter took note of a completely inaccurate "fact check" by the Topeka Capital-Journal's Tim Carpenter. It's mind boggling how the Cap-J pretends its top political reporter isn't biased. 

In Carpenter's "fact check," he takes apart a statement issued by Merrick's office a few weeks ago. Essentially, Merrick's statement said Kansas has a historically low unemployment rate. Revenue is volatile. The legislature has reduced some spending while putting millions more into KPERS than in the '90s and'00s. 

Carpenter called Merrick's quote "misleading," because the whole nation has low  unemployment. (I don't see how that negates Merrick's original statement.)

The KS House Republicans offered a pretty thorough chewing of Carpenter and his ridiculous fact check of a quote the paper never actually quoted in its entirety.

I'll only add that Carpenter's "fact check" also inaccurately attributed a paraphrase of a quote to the Kansas Policy Institute's Dave Trabert.  

Carpenter wrote, "Trabert said the state's budget problems weren't the fault of tax reductions but were tied to reluctance by the Legislature to limit expenditures."The GOP-led House and Senate have lacked 'courage to balance budgets by moving Kansas from being morbidly inefficient to grossly inefficient.'"

There's only one problem -- Trabert NEVER attributed the problem to the 'GOP-led House and Senate.' He has, however, attributed a lack of courage to the Democrats and some Republicans. 

Trabert requested a correction, which didn't materialize. Instead, the CJ's VP of audience (someone tell me what that even means) wrote an online response in the comment section of the online paper defending Carpenter's dramatic rephrasing. She explained Republicans hold veto proof majorities in the House and Senate. Um. I don't see anyone arguing that, but Trabert never said what Carpenter wrote that he said. 

Perhaps my bias is showing, but something Trabert never said was attributed to him. Seems like that deserves a print correction. 

The next time a conservative lawmaker gives Tim Carpenter one-on-one access, a scoop, or even the smallest nod in his direction, the lawmaker should be mocked to the ends of the earth. You guys can help yourselves by refusing to play along with a press that hates you. 

My only question is when will conservatives stop playing.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Love Steps Back

A wise, dignified decision.

Sen. Garrett Love announced he and his wife Caley are leaving politics for now. More politicians should take a page from Love's book. There are many things more important than having a title and power. Family is near the top of that list.

Good luck and happy trails, Love family!