Archive for April, 2009

After unethical behavior and thousands of dollars wasted by JCCC leaders to cover-up mistakes, Hodge requests formal review by JoCo District Attorney

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

In December, JCCC attorney Mark Ferguson told four members of the JCCC Board of Trustees — including the board chair and vice-chair — that they broke the open meetings law.  In March, JCCC leaders lied by saying that they have always followed the law.

In March, JCCC leaders Shirley Brown-VanArsdale and Lynn Mitchelson gave new meaning to the phrase “the cover-up is worse than the crime” by wasting thousands of dollars on legal fees, when the purpose was only meant to mislead the public.  They even asked JCCC Mark Ferguson to get an “unofficial opinion” — whatever that means — from the district attorney and state attorney general, though the public was never made aware about those discussions.

Only Trustee Benjamin Hodge has now asked for an official opinion from District Attorney Steve Howe, who has confirmed to The Kansas City Star that an investigation is under way.

Prime Buzz:

Here are the instances he wants the DA to examine.

He wrote a letter to the editor, which was printed in The Star Nov. 29, suggesting the board might be considering an increase in property taxes. It prompted a December letter signed by four of the six trustees denying Hodge’s assertion.

Hodge believes a letter signed by a majority of the board violated the open meetings law.

He believes the second violation may have occurred during a closed executive session Feb. 19 in which the board met to review the performance of Terry Calaway, college president.

Prior to the meeting, Hodge said he would evaluate Calaway based on a budget proposal that did not raise taxes.

Calaway responded during his closed evaluation with a list of more than 50 budget cuts being considered at the time as administrators worked on a budget proposal that was presented to the board earlier this month.

Hodge said he never asked for such a list to be presented during Calaway’s review. Calaway said he presented the list to show Hodge that he was working on reductions that ultimately would not raise taxes.

Why Tiahrt-Moran doesn’t matter to many conservatives

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

They’re not leaders.

In contrast, here is Minnesota Congressman John Kline:

Rep. John Kline knows the earmark process is broken. That’s why he has sworn off earmarks completely instead of accepting them and trotting out the vacant excuse that he has to because “everyone else is doing it.”

Unfortunately, he’s under pressure back home from people who want their pork. But in response, Kline is courageously holding firm. I love this quote:

“We’re on the side of the angels,” said Troy Young, the congressman’s spokesman.

And what’s even better is that Kline has the perfect explanation down pat to those who are hungry for pork. Excerpt:

[Kline] said the problem is that some 30,000 earmark requests are submitted each year, making them impossible to scrutinize. House members abide by an unwritten rule, Kline said, not to attack each other’s submissions. The result looks a lot like silent vote trading and back scratching, and both parties are guilty of it.

“It’s very arbitrary,” Kline said. “They just allocate money to members of Congress, sometimes based on political reasons, like are you vulnerable in the next election or not, or are you a committee chair.”

Well said. With a message like that spread broadly, earmarks can be a thing of the past.

Reminder: Kansas high court just as activist as Iowa’s

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

US Supreme Court overrules Kansas Supreme Court 7-2.

April 29th. As reported earlier, today the United States Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Kansas Supreme Court in a 7-2 decision. The case of Kansas v. Ventris revolved around whether prosecutors could use evidence gained in admitted violation of the 6th Amendment right to counsel to impeach a defendants testimony at trial (i.e. where a defendant claimed one thing in their testimony, could the prosecution bring otherwise inadmissible evidence in to show that the defendant was likely lying). The Kansas Supreme Court had said “No”, the U.S. Supreme Court said “Yes”.

Moran, Hodge’s name ID equal to Thornburgh in JoCo

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

Benjamin Hodge at

  • In the JCCC Trustee race, in which the top 4 candidates (out of 10) won, Peter Jouras came in fifth, and I came in sixth.  He didn’t beat me by much, but my guess is he spent at least $35,000 on the race (3 county-wide mailings and tons of signs).  Jouras spent far, far more than I did, and he was endorsed by most of the major liberal-socialist-big-government groups (NEA, faculty union, Mainstream Coalition; all but Mission Hills/Arizonian Steve Rose), but he and I fared about the same.  When I won the trustee race in April 2005, the turnout was 30%, which is closer to a representative sample of voters.  That year, the marriage amendment carried the county 60-40 and Overland Park Mayor Gerlach beat a well-financed Democrat 60-40, and those proportions probably wouldn’t deviate much if held during a higher-turnout election.
  • Moran-Tiahrt:  you’ll hear at times from supporters of one campaign or the other about how their candidate is better-known in Kansas’ Third Congressional District.  I haven’t seen any evidence to verify that statement.
  • Thornburgh:  I didn’t test Brownback’s name, because I had been told by a reliable source that his name ID was virtually 100% state-wide.  One could certainly argue that it’s not a good thing for Thornburgh that Tiahrt and Moran have competiting name recognition levels, when Johnson County voters have never seen the congressmen’s names on local ballots.
  • I am reassured by the general accuracy of my own poll after looking at another poll taken on April 17 by the well-respected firm SurveyUSAHT to, which first made me aware of this poll that tested likely 2010 voters for the Republican primary (not all voters, therefore).  Part of the poll’s breakdown includes region: NE, SW, and Western; though, I don’t know exactly how they define these terms.

Economist: move tax day close to elections

Monday, April 27th, 2009

Mark Perry:

MP: Given the national taxpayer outrage and foul mood this week about big-spending politicians, imagine if they went to the voting polls this week, or even this month?

Unfortunately, taxpayer outrage about Big Government usually coincides closely with Tax Day in April, which is way far away from Voting Day in November. As the graphic above shows, it’s been 162 days since we last voted in November 2008, and it will be 202 days before the next election, so Tax Day and Voting Day are almost as far apart as two recurring annual dates can be.

Here’s an idea: Move Tax Day and Voting Day much closer together, like perhaps in the same month or same week, instead of being about 6 months apart. Couldn’t we vote in April or pay taxes in November?

JCCC leaders face District Attorney review of open meetings law

Sunday, April 26th, 2009

On Friday, JCCC Trustee Benjamin Hodge filed with Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe a detailed summary of two likely violations of the Kansas Open Meetings Act at Johnson County Community College.  District Attorney Howe is not required to investigate the request, but Hodge says he would be surprised if a formal review is not performed.

Here is a link to the 106-page document (PDF) that is now filed with the district attorney’s office.

At, Trustee Hodge writes that included in the formal KOMA complaint is the detailed 64-item budget list that President Calaway chose to share during a closed meeting, and that Calaway claims should be considered part of his own job evaluation.  Hodge writes:

I encourage readers to look at the 64 items on the list, on page 102.  Is this the type of information that closely relates to Terry Calaway’s private job evaluation?  I don’t think so, and neither does The Kansas City Star nor The Kansas Press Association.  This is budget information, information that the Kansas Open Meetings Act requires be discussed during an open session.

Heritage on DC Voucher Program

Sunday, April 26th, 2009


The Results Are In

Created in 2004 by Congress, the DCOSP provides disadvantaged students living in the nation’s capital tuition scholarships to attend private school. The federal legislation creating the program required a rigorous evaluation to determine the program’s impact on participating children’s education. This included a randomized-experiment trial comparing the outcomes of a treatment group (students who were offered scholarships through a lottery) and a control group (students who applied but were not offered vouchers through the lottery).

On April 3, the Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences released the results of the third-year evaluation of the program.[2] Importantly, the evaluation found a statistically significant positive effect for the treatment group in reading. Specifically, students who had been offered vouchers were performing at statistically higher levels in reading, after approximately three months of additional learning. The report also found that families who had been offered a voucher were more satisfied with their children’s school and safety.

JCCC Campus Ledger provides update on cover-up and waste

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

The JCCC Campus Ledger covers the continued cover-up and dishonesty by JCCC leaders Terry Calaway, Shirley Brown-VanArsdale, and Lynn Mitchelson, that began as a relatively small likely violation of the Kansas Open Meetings Act (KOMA).  Here are facts made known in the Ledger that were previously unreported in a print publication:

  • Because of JCCC’s dishonesty and the use of taxpayer money to mislead and intimidate, Hodge called for Mitchelson and Brown-VanArsdale to resign from positions of leadership at JCCC, and for Mitchelson to resign as a representative to the Johnson County Research Triangle (JCRT).
  • JCCC attorney Mark Ferguson misled the public at the March meeting by stating that he performed a “complete review” of the February 19 board meeting (the meeting at which occurred a likely violation of the law).  The Ledger reports that Ferguson, as part of the “complete review,” not only did not talk with Trustee Benjamin Hodge — who initially reported the open meetings problems — but did not even make Hodge aware that Ferguson was performing an investigation.  Keep in mind that Ferguson does not represent Calaway, but the college — which is the board.  Ferguson is Hodge’s client, and Ferguson — at the request of a politically-motivated Calaway — unprofessionally performed a misleading, incomplete, and probably pre-determined review without informing Hodge that it was taking place.  Ferguson also is for the first time ever competing for his own job in a mere two months, and the attorney knows that Hodge is among the least likely to renew his contract.
  • In recent months, as part of JCCC’s monthly post-meeting Email summary, marketing director Julia Haas — who reports directly to President Calaway — included in the Email the endorsements of the faculty NEA (the membership of which constitutes under 5% of employees).  But in last week’s Email summary after the April board meeting, Haas refused to include Hodge’s public statements regarding the dishonest and intimidating behavior of President Calaway.  Haas provides her own misleading reply to The Ledger as she tries to dodge her inconsistent behavior:
    • “The summary does not give opinion and does not comment, it simply reports things happening,” Haas said. “If you look at the budget report, there is a lot more discussion than what is put in the summary.”

KMBC video: Hodge interviewed in JCCC Tea Party coverage

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

KMBC’s Jim Flink reporting last Wednesday.  Click for video:

The First 2012 TV Ad?

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009


Most See $50,000 As Middle Income: Poll

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009


Most Americans (54%) say that if you earn $50,000 a year, you’re in the middle-income bracket. But the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 32% say you’d qualify as a lower-income household.

Just four percent (4%) say $50,000 a year qualifies as poverty level while six percent (6%) say it’s upper-income or wealthy.

Poll: 76% Oppose Federal Bailout of Ailing Life Insurance Companies

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009


Add one more government bailout to the list opposed by most Americans.

Seventy-six percent (76%) of adults say “no” to using federal funds to bail out troubled life insurance companies, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.

Just 12% favor the idea, and another 12% are not sure.

Investors (80%) are even more strongly opposed.

There’s little partisan disagreement on this either. Eighty-three percent (83%) of Republicans, 71% of Democrats and 77% of adults not affiliated with either party oppose a bailout for ailing life insurers.

The PUMA and Procreation: NRO

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

Planet Gore:

There is a - drumroll, please - demographic element to the automobile question. Europeans often ask, “Why do Americans need those big cars?” The short answer is: Because Americans have kids and Europeans don’t. So Italians and Spaniards and Germans (and Japanese) can drive around in things the size of a Chevy Suburban’s cupholder because they’ve got nothing to put in them.

Recent mini-summary at Red County of blogosphere coverage on KOMA

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

Red County:

Here is some recent commentary:

  • Kaw and Border:  “JCCC Intimidating Whistleblower Trustee”
    • the JCCC Board of Trustees, where recently-defeated Trustee Ben Hodge has been ripped apart by his fellow board members and Steve Rose, simply for being what amounts to a whistleblower to “absolute power” tactics that often occur when a board is controlled nearly unanimously by one political party — in this case, the Johnson County Oligarchy.
  • All Things Joco, Tracy Thomas
  • Christopher Berger:  “Who Watches the Watchmen?”
    • What particularly disturbs me about this incident, however, is not the possible KOMA violation but the reaction of the officers of the board to it. After a long chain of attempts to silence Hodge, including the board’s attorney Mark Ferguson conducting a sham review of the incident and finding nothing there (though he didn’t bother mentioning his investigation to Hodge) they have now threatened a defamation lawsuit if he doesn’t shut. The suit itself would be specious; to support a claim of defamation, Ferguson would have to be able to prove false the charge of unethical behavior, something which seems absurd on its face, and prove that Hodge’s charges were intentionally and maliciously false. Whatever their problems with Hodge, Calaway’s and VanArsdale’s very public condemnation of his actions under a reasonable interpretation of the law in the face of their own failings leaves one wondering under what rubric they account their behavior in this matter as ethical, and this threatened lawsuit does nothing but further the point with its obvious speciousness.

Video: Pawlenty on the Franken/Coleman Race

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009


Poll: half think they pay too much in taxes

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009


With the annual ritual of filing federal income taxes just behind them, 52% of U.S. voters now believe they pay more than their fair share of taxes, up seven points from earlier this month.

But 54% of the Political Class don’t think they pay too much, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.

This is hardly reassuring, however, since 55% don’t think most members of Congress pay all the taxes they owe.

Just 29% of all Americans say they don’t pay their fair share in taxes, and 19% are not sure.

Sixty percent (60%) of voters nationwide believe tax cuts help the economy, while 15% say they hurt and 14% say they have no impact.

Erickson: How Obama Intends to Control the Census

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

Erick Erickson:

See this from the Washington Times.

President Obama is losing a member of his press shop just shy of his first 100 days in office.

Ellen Moran, White House communications director, will become chief of staff for Commerce Secretary Gary Locke.

Mr. Obama issued a statement through the press office commending her service thus far.

The Commerce Department ostensibly controls the census and keeps politics out of it. However, Ellen Moran is a far left radical. She’s the former ED of Emily’s list, worked for DNC, DCCC, and AFL-CIO. Her resume is straight out of left-wing activism, not communications.

Putting a loyal lieutenant standing behind Gary Locke is the perfect way to ensure the Census makes up inaccurate numbers to better help the Democrats in the coming census.

Gay marriage poll: Survey USA

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

Survey USA asks for one of three options:

Results:                                                            All      18-49    Over 50     GOP     Dem     Unaffiliated

Nation-wide law in favor of gay marriage         29%      31          26            16       37            31

Federalism, allowing each state to decide         19%      18          20            16       17            25

Banning gay-marriage nation-wide                   50%      47          53            64       43            42

Alec Baldwin: Olbermann & Maddow Kind of Hard to Watch — Redstate

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009


Poor Keith! First the big kids refuse to invite him into their little club, and now they’re trashing him out in the open!

On cable news, I am a fan of Keith and Rachel. But he wastes too much time p***ing on Bush and his deposed cronies. She is smart and charming but her writers are dreadful and the less cutesy she is, the better. She did an excellent interview with Colin Powell recently. The next night, I missed that tougher, less avuncular Rachel. A while back, the idea of sitting down at another screen and getting my evening news seemed unappealing. Now I sit and watch Rachel and Keith while I do my e-mail and read Slate and HuffPo online.

But something has changed again. I’m back to buying the Times. I think others should get back to buying and reading a newspaper, too.

RCP — KY Sen poll: Bunning vulnerable

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

RCP blog:

A Public Policy Polling survey also finds that the two-term incumbent has just a 28 percent approval rating, with 54 percent disapproving. Republican Secretary of State Trey Grayson, mentioned as the most likely Bunning alternative for the GOP, has a fav/unfav rating of 46/19, with 36 percent unsure. The survey was conducted on April 2 and 3, surveying 610 voters. The margin of error is +/- 4 percent. (more…)