Archive for March, 2009

Terry Calaway’s ‘lame excuses’: Kaw and Border

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

The area blog Kaw and Border on JCCC President Terry Calaway, Board Chair Shirley Brown-VanArsdale, and Vice chair Lynn Mitchelson:

Ben has worked very hard to bring transparency and openness to the JCCC Board of Trustees. Unfortunately, as Yael Abouhalkah (of all people) at the Kansas City Star recently editorialized, the JCCC Board and President (outside of Hodge) have been conducting meetings in secret in violation of the Kansas Open Meetings Act. Ben didn’t like that and as a result, has been lableled a nuisance by Steve Rose. One would think that Steve Rose, whose name is synonymous with Johnson County’s long time suburban newspaper, the Johnson County Sun, would appreciate Ben’s efforts at upholding a state law that even The Star had to correct the college on, as Ben describes on RedCounty.com here.

Of course, JCCC President Calaway and the other 5 establishment board members have tried to come up with lame excuses for their secrecy, as described in this recent article in the Gardner News, that apparently KOMA doesn’t apply to written documents, just verbal communication. Right.

Not only that, they subsequently violated the Kansas Open Meetings Act back in November as well when four of the board members, a majority, wrote a letter to The Star discussing Ben’s claims in his own letter to The Star regarding the board’s possibility of raising the mill levy. Problem is, having four people sign a letter was a violation of KOMA as well. Ben discusses these issues at length here.

Flint Hills: Kansas Style Budget Transparency Spreads Across America

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Flint Hills Center:

Title: Kansas Style Budget Transparency Spreads Across America

Author: Jonathan Williams
In 2007, Kansas lawmakers took the lead with first-in-the-nation legislation to create an innovative budget transparency Web site. Led by Rep. Kasha Kelley and Sen. Tim Huelskamp et al., this legislation, which created the widely popular www.kansas.gov/kanview/, now allows Kansas taxpayers to see how their hard earned dollars are being spent with the click of a mouse.

Based on the Kansas experience and model legislation developed by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), legislators across the nation are now promoting legislation to increase transparency and accountability in state budgets. This growing movement toward greater transparency has been one of the most promising recent developments in state policy. (more…)

Poll: Consumer Confidence at Highest Level Since Election

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Rasmussen:

The Rasmussen Consumer Index, which measures consumer confidence on a daily basis, gained two points on Sunday. At 70.8, the Consumer Index is up six points from a week ago and up sixteen points from the all-time low reached just three weeks ago. Consumer confidence is now at the highest level since Barack Obama was elected last November.

Please take a moment to predict where the Consumer Index will be on April 30.

The Rasmussen Investor Index shows that investor confidence is also at its highest level since early November. At 74.8, the Investor Index is up eight points from a week ago and up eighteen points from a month ago. Investor confidence is still down eighteen points from a year ago.

The biggest change over the past month has been reduced pessimism over the economic future. Fifty-one percent (51%) of consumers now say the economy is getting worse. That’s down from 67% a month ago. Among investors, 48% say the economy is getting worse, down 69% from a month ago.

Thirty-five percent (35%) of investors would put new investment money in real estate while 29% would put the money in a savings account. That’s a reversal from recent months when a bank savings account was the top choice. Just 17% would put their new investment money in the stock market.

Update from Todd Tiahrt

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Todd Tiahrt:

March 27, 2009 Unsubscribe Update My Profile

U.S. Capitol Update
March 27, 2009

Dear Friend,

Welcome to this week’s U.S. Capitol Update.

ABL Program Critical to the Future of our National Security Capabilities
On Monday, I was joined by six of my congressional colleagues in sending a letter to Department of Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates requesting his support for continued funding of the Airborne Laser (ABL) program. The ABL program is critical in maintaining America’s technological edge and national security capabilities to destroy ballistic missiles from the moment of launch. I am also pleased this program will bring increased job opportunities to Kansas workers with modification of the Airborne Laser expected to be done by Boeing in Wichita.

Click here to read the text of the letter.

I also enjoyed appearing on Fox News to discuss the importance of the ABL Program. Click here to watch the video.

2nd Amendment Self Defense Bill
This week I co-sponsored the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Bill (H.R. 197). This legislation recognizes that those who have a valid state-issued concealed firearms permit should not have to forfeit their safety when traveling to other states. Not only does this bill protect the rights of concealed firearm permit holders, it also maintains the right of states to issue concealed weapons permits as they desire.

Click here to read more.

Ethical Stem Cell Research Initiative
I was proud to become a co-sponsor of the Patients First Act (H.R. 877), a bill that supports productive and ethical stem cell research by prioritizing scientific breakthroughs with the greatest potential for near-term clinical benefits.

For years stem cell research has been a divisive issue, but the Patients First Act will help bridge the divide between protecting life and advancing scientific endeavors. With more intensified research, I have confidence we will see treatments available for many more ailments and diseases while honoring the sanctity of life.

Click here to read more.

Spring 2009 Satellite Office Hours
The Spring 2009 satellite office hours are happening now. This is your opportunity to meet with a member of my staff who will be available to offer assistance with federal agencies, answer questions about the federal government, and discuss your concerns and opinions. No appointment is necessary, just come during the scheduled hours. Please feel free to share this information with your family and friends.

You can find the complete satellite office schedule on my website by clicking here. Or for more information, please call my office at: 316.262.8992 or toll free at 1.866.668.8478.

2009 Congressional Art Competition
I would like to invite all high school art students to participate in the 2009 Annual Congressional Art Competition: An Artistic Discovery.

This unique competition provides members of the U.S. House of Representatives an opportunity to showcase the artistic talents of high school students within their districts. We have many talented young artists in Kansas, and I encourage as many to participate as possible. The winning entry from each district-wide contest will be displayed in the U.S. Capitol for one year. Click here for more information.

Job Resource Center
Located on my website you will find a Job Resource Center to help aid constituents impacted by layoffs. Through the Job Resource Center, you will find links to job banks, job training resources, and unemployment benefits information.

Click here to be directed to the Job Resource Center.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any help to you or your family. You can reach my Wichita office by calling 316.262.8992 or click here to send me an electronic message.

Best regards,

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Colorado’s Homeschool Law Turns Twenty

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Independence Institute:

In the fall of 2008 there were 7,023 registered homeschool students. After 20 years, some organizations still desire to limit homeschool freedoms. The law needs consistent defense against those who would restrict parental rights.

KFL on Tiller verdict

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

KFL:

Call To Action

6-member jury finds Tiller not guilty but state Medical Board moves to revoke his license for same charges + fraud!

While it was frustrating that Tiller escaped conviction for 19 misdemeanors this afternoon, he is in MUCH bigger trouble right now. Tiller’s use of one doctor, dependent on him for her entire salary – was a defiant criminal act, and although the jury today didn’t see that, the state Board of Healing Arts-under a new Executive Director, Jack Confer-absolutely described that relationship as “symbiotic” and as clearly banned under the late-term law! They are charging Tiller with 11 counts of fraud, unprofessional conduct and failing to use an independent second referral. The Board has issued the first step in revoking Tiller’s medical license! No need to call yet-we’ll keep you informed. Please pray for all the members of the Board.

Women’s Right to Know & See act signed today

Gov. Sebelius quietly signed the Woman’s Right to Know and See act today, knowing it had passed by veto-proof majorities in the House and Senate. Thank you to those who contacted her, urging her to do the right thing and sign it. This is a wonderful bill insuring a woman can have access to the sonogram of her unborn child and helping stop coercion at abortion clinics. We thank all those who helped it pass, especially the bill author, Rep.Lance Kinzer.

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AFP-KS update: Tax Day Tea Parties planned in Kansas, April 15

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

AFP:

Tax Day Tea Parties planned in Kansas, April 15
Americans for Prosperity

Americans for Prosperity-Kansas
March 26, 2009
In this issue:

* Tax Day Tea Parties planned for April 15
* Budget Stabilization fund passes both chambers
* Taxpayer-funded lobbying
* AFP-Kansas is now on Twitter!

***********

A Message from State Director Derrick Sontag: (more…)

‘Unafraid’ China apparently fears YouTube

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Reuters:

BEIJING (Reuters) – China is not afraid of the Internet, its Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday, even as access to the popular video sharing site YouTube was apparently blocked.

YouTube, owned by search giant Google Inc, has been unavailable for users in China, which filters the Internet for content critical of the Communist Party, since late on Monday.

“Many people have a false impression that the Chinese government fears the Internet. In fact it is just the opposite,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters.

He said he did not know about YouTube being blocked.

A Google spokesman confirmed that access to the video site has been blocked in China over the past 24 hours.

CNN in third place in prime time for first time: AP

Monday, March 30th, 2009

AP:

NEW YORK (AP) – CNN is poised to finish March third in the prime-time weeknight ratings behind Fox News Channel and MSNBC, the first time this has ever happened for the channel that pioneered the cable news genre nearly three decades ago.

CNN says its overall business is healthy and it is not straying from its straight news path. But it is suffering more audience erosion than its rivals since the peak days of the presidential election, further proof that the opinionated prime-time shows on Fox and MSNBC have greater audience loyalty.

CNN’s weekday prime-time ratings are relatively flat compared to last year during the primary campaign, up 1 percent from March 2008, according to Nielsen Media Research. Fox’s ratings have jumped 30 percent and MSNBC, the new No. 2, is up 24 percent. The biggest growth in cable news is for CNN’s partner, Headline News, which is up 62 percent.

Fox remains on a mountain above its two closest competitors, with its prime-time audience in March more than that of MSNBC and CNN combined. “The O’Reilly Factor” has done particularly well, keeping more of its postelection audience than anything else on CNN and MSNBC.

Deportation hearing for Obama’s aunt

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Baltimore Examiner:

Boston, Ma. – Zeituni Onyango, aunt of President Obama and illegal immigrant from Kenya, is scheduled for a deportation hearing on April 1. Since being ordered deported in 2004, Onyango has resided in the U.S. illegally; living five years in Boston’s taxpayer-funded public housing. This will be the third effort by the 56 year-old to avoid deportation. Onyango came to the U.S. in 2002, seeking political asylum from the violence in Kenya.

President Obama stated that he hasn’t been involved in the matter and that it should be resolved the same way as any other case. Some critics of the President see this issue as a test of his duty to enforce laws concerning immigration. Regarding Onyango living in Boston public housing, critics also point out that there are countless legal immigrants and citizens on waiting lists for the accommodations.

John Fund on tomorrow’s NY race

Monday, March 30th, 2009

John Fund at WSJ:

It will be the first gauge of President Barack Obama’s early days, and as the National Journal reports “it’s his stimulus package that’s the focus of the debate here.” The furor over the bonuses given out by American International Group (AIG), which a loophole in the stimulus bill allowed, has only heightened the attention that the race is getting both in New York and in Washington where officials in both parties are hoping for a win.

The vacancy in New York’s 20th congressional district — which stretches north from Poughkeepsie to Lake Placid — was created when Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand was appointed to fill Hillary Clinton’s U.S. Senate seat. Traditionally the district has been represented by Republicans, but like most of the Northeast it has been lurching left. Last November, Barack Obama carried the district, and Ms. Gillibrand won 62% against a former New York secretary of state who spent $6 million against her.

To replace Ms. Gillibrand, Democrats put up a fresh face, the kind of candidate that helped Rahm Emanuel take back the House for Democrats in 2006. Scott Murphy is a Harvard-educated venture capitalist who only moved into the area three years ago from Missouri. Using perfect Rahm-speak, he says he’ll join the moderate Blue Dog Democrats if elected.

The Campaign To Bankrupt The Palin Family

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Redstate.com:

From just September till now, Sarah Palin has accumulated a personal dept of over $500,000 in legal fees defending herself against fake/false/frivolous ethics charges. That’s Five Hundred Thousand Dollars.

A group of Alaska liberals, with the apparent cooperation of members of the Alaska Democratic Party have been filing ethics charge after ethics charge against Sarah Palin. The aim? Not to get her impeached and booted from office, because every single one of the charges are frivolous, baseless and even fairly deranged – one was even filed in the name of a soap opera character – but something far more personal.

These people want to bankrupt the Palins and leave them destitute. They want to empty their bank accounts so that they cannot afford the basics and necessities of life after Governor Palin leaves office.

Video: Tucker Carlson Rips Jon Stewart

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Artur Bagyants looks at recent KS Chamber poll

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Bagyants.com:

In this lesson we’ll look at a poll sponsored by the Kansas Chamber of Commerce. The poll’s objective was to gauge support for the construction of the Holcomb coal plant expansion. Let’s look at a few of the questions:

1. What is the most important issue facing Kansas today?

• Economy, 30 percent
• Jobs/Industry, 18 percent
• Budget, 10 percent
• Moral issues, 5 percent
• Health care/Insurance, 5 percent
• Leadership, 4 percent.

For the sake of argument, let’s accept the notion that the chamber wants the coal plants to be built (crazy, I know). What does this question accomplish? Well, it shows that most respondents care more about the economy than anything else. This fits nicely with the argument that the coal plant expansion will create jobs. But wait a second. Do you see anything significant missing from the list? Perhaps the issue that nearly all Americans rank as the most important by far, on every poll since the beginning of time? Education. These results may have been very different, had it been part of the equation.

Christopher Berger editorial: Distractions

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Distractions, by Christopher Berger

AIG’s $164 million retention bonuses have caused a great deal of commotion in recent days, as most of you know by this point, but I ultimately have to question just how much business of ours (or of Congress’s) they are. AIG is a private corporation (admittedly with a 79% non-voting government ownership stake) which is paying bonuses to those people who stay with them through this mess to help them try to fix it. This is how they say thank you to their employees they actually want to keep (not those they want to kick out the door, not the ones who destroyed the company). The public has been manipulated into a rage by Congressional partisans and White House operatives for the past week and a half, now reaching the point where a group funded by ACORN is taking people on tours of the homes those AIG executives who received bonuses, just to whip them into an even greater froth.

But as has become clear, it’s not the AIG executives that should be dragged in front of committees to answer questions but certain officials of the Obama administration and members of Congress. Officials in the Treasury Department knew about these bonuses as early as November, in some cases, and Secretary Geithner knew about them no later than his testimony before Congress on March 3. The timeline of who knew what when presented by the Obama administration is patently false, and they need to be held to account for their lies. (more…)

Obama supports firing bad teachers!

Monday, March 30th, 2009

The AP:

WASHINGTON (AP) – If the nation’s schools are going to see improvement, President Barack Obama says there has to be a way to ease bad teachers out of the classroom.

Obama was responding Thursday to a question from a Philadelphia-area schoolteacher. The woman looked away and refused to answer when Obama asked if she’d seen any teachers whose work was so bad she wouldn’t want her own children in that class.

Obama said some people just aren’t meant to be teachers.

New face transplant in France

Monday, March 30th, 2009

AFP:

A 28-year-old man has received a face transplant at a hospital outside Paris, the doctor who performed the surgery told AFP Friday.

The 15-hour operation, completed Friday morning at Henri Mondor Hospital in Creteil, a suburb east of Paris, is the fifth face transplant in the world, and the third in France.

“The patient’s face was disfigured by a shotgun blast,” the surgeon, Laurent Lantieri, said.

“The patient is awake and is doing well. But it is far too early to say whether the transplant will take,” he said, adding that 15 medical personnel took part in operation.

A patient’s immune system will frequently reject a skin graft from a donor, requiring the systematic use of immunosuppressive drugs.

The gun shot had destroyed the muscles in the man’s lower face such that he could not open his mouth, even after several operations, Lantieri explained.

A large portion of the face of the donor was removed, along with bone to repair the recipient’s upper jaw.

Government school bans high-fives, hugging

Monday, March 30th, 2009

The latest incompetence in government education.

WCBSTV.com:

A Connecticut middle school principal has laid down the law: You put your hands on someone — anyone — in any way, you’re going to pay.

A violent incident that put one student in the hospital has officials at the Milford school implementing a “no touching” policy, according to a letter written by the school’s principal.

East Shore Middle School parents said the change came after a student was sent to the hospital after being struck in the groin.

Principal Catherine Williams sent out a letter earlier in the week telling parents recent behavior has seriously impacted the safety and learning at the school.

“Observed behaviors of concern recently exhibited include kicking others in the groin area, grabbing and touching of others in personal areas, hugging and horseplay. Physical contact is prohibited to keep all students safe in the learning environment,” Williams wrote.

Obama approval 58-41%

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Rasmussen:

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Sunday shows that 37% of the nation’s voters now Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Thirty percent (30%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of +7 (see trends).

The Rasmussen Consumer Index gained six points over the past week and now shows consumer confidence at the highest level since Obama was election. At 70.4, the Consumer Index is up fourteen points over the last month. Please take a moment to where consumer confidence will be at the end of the President’s first 100 days in office. You can also predict other topics at the Rasmussen Reports Prediction Center.

Climate Plan to Shift Trillions to Form New World Economy

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Fox News:

A United Nations document on “climate change” that will be distributed to a major environmental conclave next week envisions a huge reordering of the world economy, likely involving trillions of dollars in wealth transfer, millions of job losses and gains, new taxes, industrial relocations, new tariffs and subsidies, and complicated payments for greenhouse gas abatement schemes and carbon taxes – all under the supervision of the world body.

Those and other results are blandly discussed in a discretely worded United Nations “information note” on potential consequences of the measures that industrialized countries will likely have to take to implement the Copenhagen Accord, the successor to the Kyoto Treaty, after it is negotiated and signed by December 2009. The Obama administration has said it supports the treaty process if, in the words of a U.S. State Department spokesman, it can come up with an “effective framework” for dealing with global warming.