Friday, March 28, 2008
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Sunflower Electric has been arguing that they desperately need two giant, CO2 belching coal plants in Holcomb, KS in order to bring cheaper energy to western Kansans. And the "Melvin Neufelds" of the state have been all too eager to take up that corporate drum beat.
But, wait! (insert record scratch here)
A report released yesterday by Innovest, an independent leading global financial firm , announced that coal can no longer be considered the cheapest source of power - if you account for coming federal regulation of carbon emissions. From the Wichita Eagle:
The report found a political and regulatory environment nationally that is tilting away from new coal plants and imposing significant new costs on them. Among the trends: The U.S. Supreme Court last year signaled its approval of federal carbon regulation. This session, Congress has introduced a flurry of carbon cap and trade bills, and the question "is not whether legislation will be enacted, but when." Moreover, the study noted the soaring costs of plant construction.So, this pretty much takes the wind out of Neufeld's sails. Not that he had much wind in them anyway. (What happened to overriding that veto, Melvin?)
All of this has changed the underlying economics of new coal-fired plants.
The report finds that while the Sunflower expansion would provide additional baseload capacity, "the carbon risks associated with an increased reliance on coal present significant financial risks for the company's owners and ratepayers."
Now that they can no longer claim "cheaper energy" as their number one reason for holding up the entire legislative session - what excuse will they have? Do you think they'll fall back on the ol' "but joggers emit more CO2 than gigantic coal plants do" line?
'Cause that one was really stupid.
If Lee Jones strikes your fancy, he also has a web site.
Whichever candidate you prefer, one thing is for sure: Pat Roberts has got to go.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Rep. Boyda yesterday released (for the second year in a row) her list of earmark requests, not just the projects that make it into law, but every single earmark she has requested or will request in the future.
Jenkins likes to say "We need to bring the earmark process out of the dark of night" and "We need to bring the process out of Washington's smoke-filled rooms." Well Lynn, we here at LBK couldn't agree more. But see, Nancy Boyda has already done that, not just promised to do so.
Jim Ryun, apparently without recognizing the irony, announced that he'll never seek another earmark. "Hi. My name is Jim Ryun, and I'm addicted to earmarks." That's not the answer either, as there are many of these funding projects that are perfectly legitimate and actually help people in the 2nd district.
"I am joining the earmark reform movement in Washington and will work to repair an obviously broken system," Ryun said. "The earmark crisis is out of control."See this post at Boyda Bloc for analysis on how it got out of control.
But Rep. Boyda's leadership is more than just a link on a website, Rep. Boyda voted for a moratorium on earmarks until a meaningful overhaul of the system can be accomplished.
So how do we fix a broken earmark system? Re-elect Nancy Boyda.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
All six members of Kansas' delegation in Washington - four Republicans and two Democrats - are working together to reverse the Air Force's recent decision to award a $35 billion contract for air refueling tanker aircraft to a group including Airbus' manufacturer. The losing bidder was Boeing, with operations in Wichita.Make no mistake, we agree with what he's saying now, we just wish his epiphany would've come before his 2003 vote that allowed it to happen in the first place.
"Unwise" and "unbelievable" Roberts said of the decision that will create jobs in France at the expense of the U.S.
The expected Republican presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., successfully opposed an earlier tanker lease deal involving Boeing. That squelched project caused a scandal for both Boeing and the Air Force and paved the way for the competitive round that led to the Airbus victory.
Roberts observed that when McCain flew to Wichita for a quick campaign stop before the Kansas GOP presidential caucus in February, he landed in an Airbus plane.
"Now if that doesn't tell you something," Roberts said.
If you're a regular LBK reader, you already know about Laissez Unfaire, that is, Sen. John McCain's active efforts to enable foreign companies to obtain military contracts and Sens. Pat Roberts and Sam Brownback's complacency in that endeavor. You've known for quite some time in fact (see here, here and here) Well, I have good news, the media has finally caught on.
A nationally syndicated story hit Kansas papers yesterday outlining how the actions and/or inactions of these men led directly to the devastating decision to award AirBus a contract won based on the merits of a hypothetical plane.
From Rob Hotakainen of McClatchy. (Kansas City Star, Wichita Eagle, Lawrence Journal-World)
McCain's opponents said he laid the groundwork for Airbus in 2003, when Congress approved his amendment that allowed the Pentagon to buy American military equipment from foreign companies. In 2006, McCain wrote letters to the Defense Department regarding the tanker project. Opponents said the senator was lobbying on Airbus' behalf, but McCain said he was merely calling for an open process that would not exclude Airbus from bidding.
The Star included a longer version of the story.
Others have noted that 2004 was about the time EADS North America tripled its contributions on Capitol Hill. In this election cycle, the Center for Responsive Politics called McCain the top individual recipient (about $14,000) from the company’s employees and PAC. Most Boeing-sourced donations went elsewhere.
Some look to his campaign staff as well.
McCain finance chairman Thomas G. Loeffler and Susan E. Nelson, his finance director, both were lobbying for EADS in the past. Former Navy secretary and current McCain adviser William L. Ball III and John Green, McCain’s legislative liaison, did as well. All say they are not working for Airbus now
.Moreover, the Star story includes specifics about Brownback and Roberts' support of the amendment, authored by John McCain, which paved the way for this decision.
All the anger in the world out of Sens. Brownback and Roberts, as well as US Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Goddard) is a day late and a dollar short. Kansans need leaders who can be proactive and visionary, not leaders who's anger is reactionary and full of hindsight. Roberts, Tiahrt and Brownback should have been out in front of this from the very beginning.
But in 2003, when Congress approved his amendment that allowed the Pentagon to buy American military equipment from foreign companies. Sens. Pat Roberts and Sam Brownback, both Kansas Republicans, voted for the amendment along a largely party line.
And in 2006, McCain wrote letters to the Defense Department suggesting the criteria be broadened and the issue of European subsidies to Airbus not be a deal breaker. Opponents said the senator was lobbying on Airbus’ behalf, but McCain said he was merely calling for an open bidding process.
It's as simple as this, John McCain's actions cost the people of Wichita thousands of jobs, and Sam Brownback, Pat Roberts and Todd Tiahrt did nothing about it. Kansans should make them pay at the polls.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Leftbrain Kansas has obtained a draft press release from the office St. Mary's Republican Richard Carlson which reads as follows.
TOPEKA -- A recent study by prominent Kansas legislators has concluded that regulatory uncertainty created by Kansas Department of Health and Environment's Rod Bremby's decision to reject the Holcomb power plant expansion may have played a role in the extinction of the dionsaurs.
Rep. Larry Powell, top lackey for legislative psuedo-science expert Melvin Neufeld, said that the dinosaurs were unable to sustain life in an environment where they just didn't know how much carbon they were going to be able to produce.
"They know that when they breathe, they're creating so much carbon that it was only a matter of time before Secretary Bremby denied their air quality permit," Powell said. "Even though it's good for the corn, the uncertainty was just too much for them, and they eventually died off. We can thank the Sebelius administration. Kathleen Sebelius killed the dinosaurs."
We are unclear as to why this press release was never sent out. As far as we can tell, it's just as believable as the one they actually did send out. In the second release, Carlson claims that Bremby's decision led to Hyperion Resources' decision to build an oil refinery in South Dakota instead of Kansas.
Nevermind the fact that the company had already set up an office in the South Dakota city that was in contention.
Nevermind the fact that only Elk City, South Dakota is listed on their web site as a potential location.
Ignore the fact that they had already begun the process of acquiring land and getting it zoned all long before Secretary Bremby's decision.
It was none of these factors that caused them to choose South Dakota, it was all because Secretary Bremby invokes fear in their hearts.
He is the biggest bad ass on the block and they just didn't want any of it.
Just like the dinosaurs.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Monday, March 17, 2008
And it also shows Tiahrt bumbling around, trying to sound like he cares about Kansans while simultaneously insisting that, as a Republican, it is his duty to love John McCain.
From the Wichita Eagle:
John McCain might be taking this maverick thing a bit far. I mean, sending good aviation jobs to France?
At least that's the charge from Boeing backers, who accuse the Arizona senator of helping Airbus get a $35 billion Air Force tanker contract at the expense of American jobs, including hundreds of them right here in the Air Capital.
Boeing supporters, looking for a villain in this economic defeat, have put McCain in their crosshairs.
"I hope the voters of this state remember what John McCain has done to them and their jobs," said Rep. Norm Dicks, a Washington Democrat.
Many Republicans, too, are unhappy with McCain's role.
Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Goddard, told The Eagle editorial board last week that he thought McCain was dead wrong on this issue.
"I'm going to learn to love him," Tiahrt said of his party's nominee, with as much conviction as he could muster.
But Tiahrt clearly wasn't feeling the love on this issue.
Take McCain's comment that creating jobs shouldn't be a factor in military procurement contracts.
Tiahrt begged to differ. "McCain needs to make a decision," he said. "I want him to come down on the side of American jobs."
For many Americans, it's that simple.
You can read the rest here.
But before you do, buzz on over to Betts for Congress and contribute to his effort to unseat that lovey dovey Todd Tiahrt.
Friday, March 14, 2008
The latest poor legislation to pop up in this committee is a bill that would allow licensed firearm dealers in Kansas to once again sell automatic weapons.
Previously, dealers had been allowed to sell these weapons to law enforcement agencies until a recent decision by then-Attorney General Paul Morrison said that such activities were not actually legal.
But instead of just reinstating the ability to sell to law enforcement (which I'm fine with), lawmakers want to go a step further and allow any old Joe off the street to purchase these tools of death.
Apparently the state shouldn't have a say in whether guns that fire 600 rounds per minute should be in the hands of your average person on the street. After all, what if someone is invading your home and you miss with the first 599 shots, with that 600th shot, you have defended your home.
Do people need a reason? asked Rep. Candy Ruff, D-Leavenworth.
"If people want to possess it, it's up to them," she said.
Something tells me this isn't what the framers had in mind when they wrote about a well-organized militia and the right to bear arms.
But honestly, that incomplete sentence in the Constitution aside, why in the WORLD would ANYONE need a gun that can shoot 600 rounds per minute unless they were military or law enforcement?
And you know what, spare me the crap about how if these guns are made illegal than only criminals will have these guns:
Virginia Tech: Guns were legally purchased.
Kirksville, Mo.: Guns were legally purchased.
Northern Illinois: Guns were legally purchased.
Hell, go back to Columbine: Guns were legally purchased before they were given to the two troubled teens who shot up that school.
Now imagine if any of these disturbed individuals had been given the option of an AK-47 at that gun show? How many more people would've died?
This isn't a matter of being able to defend yourself and your family, unless you're defending them against the army of a small third-world nation. This isn't about being able to hunt for sport or for food. This is being able to own a killing machine for the sake of being able to own a killing machine.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
1. ``Bioethical' violations such as birth controlThen there's of course the originals.
2. ``Morally dubious'' experiments such as stem cell research
3. Drug abuse
4. Polluting the environment
5. Contributing to widening divide between rich and poor
6. Excessive Wealth
7. Creating poverty (LBK: See #5)
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
(Oh wait - I just answered my own question.)
SERIOUSLY FOLKS!!! WHAT THE HELL IS THIS GUY EVEN TALKING ABOUT?!?!? Allow me to just ignore his tasteless and sophomoric "PMS & mood swings" crack...He apparently doesn't believe Hillary Clinton is qualified to be president because she would bring a "female agenda" into the White House - and then he proceeds to provide examples of Sen. Clinton speaking up for women's rights or women in general.
Excuse me?!!? Excuse me?!? Did this guy honestly just say that it is dangerous for this country to accept a woman as President because she might threaten to have a "female agenda?"
(Right. Because no male has ever entered the Oval Office with a "male agenda.")
But I'm not here to bash men. I'm here to bash THIS GUY because he is an idiot and belongs with the likes of THIS GUY in terms of male chauvinism and ass-backwardness.
Now that the news is starting to settle in that Jim Slattery will be joing the Democratic U.S. Senate primary, our Republican blogs have felt the need to assert Roberts' status as "well-liked."
What's the problem with this you might ask?
Sure, he's been elected numerous times by large margins, even going unopposed in 2002. But is he really well-liked?
Survey USA polls the state quite a bit, and Roberts' numbers have been pretty steady.
I could keep going, but you get the idea. The "well-liked" Senator has never been above 57% and has on two separate occassions since January of 2007 dropped below 50%. His average approval rating over the past 17 months? 52%.
That's not atrocious, I mean, he could be Sam Brownback. However, considering he has been in Congress for decades and has had no one really actively campaigning against him his entire career, it's pretty sad. And it certainly isn't insurmountable, whether he faces Lee Jones or Congressman Slattery.
So why is it that despite all evidence to the contrary, Republicans insist upon calling Sen. Roberts well-liked? They offer no statistical evidence to back up their claim, only that he hasn't been beaten yet.
I guess if you say something enough, people start to believe it.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
We already knew most of McCain's campaign staff were lobbyists, but the Associated Press is reporting that two staff members and a volunteer on his campaign have worked or currently work as lobbyists for European Aeronautic Defense & Space, who's French subsidiary AirBus won a $35 Billion (with a B) contract to build airplanes for the United States Air Force.
Yes, the very same decision that will in all likelihood deal a crippling blow to the local economy in Wichita .
The AP story reports that:
Top current advisers to Senator John McCain's presidential campaign last
year lobbied for European Aeronautic Defense & Space bid that beat Boeing to a $35 billion Air Force tanker contract, taking sides in a bidding fight that McCain has tried to referee for more than five years.
Two of the advisers gave up their lobbying work when they joined McCain's
campaign. A third, the former Texas Representative Tom Loeffler, lobbied for
EADS while serving as McCain's national finance chairman.
This should come as no surprise coming from the guy who was endorsed by George W. Bush, who has proven time and time again that making his friends rich is more important than the welfare of the country.
Now, McCain's team is claiming that the lobby work these individuals did for the company is not related to the tanker deal.
Do they truely want us to believe that it is purely a coincidence that two people in high-ranking positions on his campaign team and one volunteer have significant financial ties to a company that just received a $35 billion deal made possible by an amendment he wrote in 2003?
I mean honestly, you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a former EADS lobbyist. I actually have EADS lobbyists doing yardwork at my house as we speak. Who ISN'T a former EADS lobbyist?
Probably not anyone on Sens. Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama's staff.
Monday, March 10, 2008
You see, our friends at Boyda Bloc point out a recent National Review story in which the very same Nancy Boyda your friend Christian Morgan would have Kansans believe is a latte-drinking, volvo-driving, Al Gore-worshiping Liberal is portrayed as a strikingly moderate voice in the United States House of Representatives.
In fact, the story called Boyda the 203rd most liberal member of the House and the 227th most conservative. Basically, she's right square in the middle, just where you'll find the average Kansan.
So surely you right-wingers over at Bounce Boyda will be hollering that this is just another example of the liberal media singing the praises of a liberal politician.
Everyone remembers when Nancy Boyda was rejected for membership in the moderate Blue Dog Coalition.One problem. As a commenter on the above-referenced post pointed out, the story inaccurately portrayed the situation between Rep. Boyda and the Blue Dogs. Surely this would put this issue to rest.
Well, Nancy says, pay no attention to that well-established truth in yesterday's National Journal.
She got rejected for the Blue Dogs because she votes with San Fran Nan Pelosi 93% of the time. That's not independent, that's LIBERAL!
Moreover, I tend to believe that the National Journal had the impression Boyda was trying to say she didn't apply to the Blue Dogs. It is a reputable publication with good reporters. (emphasis added)Let me get this straight. Your blog's sole purpose is to extol the belief that Nancy Boyda is a left-wing zombie being controlled by the voodoo magic of Nancy Pelosi, and when a piece comes out calling her a member of the "Great American Center" the best you can do is quibble about why she didn't join the Blue Dog Coalition?
Then, after being called out by an anonymous commenter, you proceed to declare the source of such praise to be legit and even "reputable"?
So, if it's such a "reputable source" with "good reporters," are you conceding that Rep. Boyda is indeed a moderate? Did you just forget to mention that you think every thing they said about her is wrong? Inquiring minds want to know!
In the video, a proud Carl Cameron notes:
“McCain makes no bones about blowing his stack occasionally and having a temper. A campaign has the capacity to test the temperament and character of a candidate. If today was a pop quiz, you got to say McCain passed.”I mean, I’d hate to use the phrase crotchety old man, but - he’s kind of leaving himself open for that one…
Obviously, this is a Kansas-centric blog, but when we come across something as abhorrent as this -- especially this close to home -- we can't ignore it.
If you suffer from high blood pressure and have a soft spot in your heart for the LGBT movement, you might want to think twice before watching this video.
To recap: The gays are taking over and ruining the world. She even goes so far as to say that homosexuals are a bigger threat to America than terrorists.
We're trying to find out if there is a Democratic opponent in her district to direct our support towards, but in the interim, head over to the Oklahoma Democratic Party's site and give'em a few bucks to combat this bigotry. Then, shoot Rep. Kern an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let her know that she inspired you to donate money to the Oklahoma Democratic Party.
The now infamous "3 AM" ad run in Ohio by Hillary Clinton -- largely credited with pushing the Senator over the edge in the March 4 Ohio primary -- has taken on a new wrinkle.
It seems the actress who is portrayed as the blissfully sleeping child in this commercial is actually an 18 year-old Barack Obama supporter. (If you're thinking "That girl looks like she's 8, not 18" you're absolutely right, the footage is from a 10 year-old commercial for a railroad company.)
To make things even more interesting, this is not the first such irony of this Presidential cycle. In January, Sen. Clinton had an emotional moment on the campaign trail in the days leading up to the New Hampshire primary.
Much like the Ohio commercial, many people have pointed to this incident as a major factor in her victory there.
The irony? The woman who asked the question voted for Obama the next day.
What does this mean? Most likely nothing. But this blogger finds the whole situation to be indicative of this crazy primary. Two major events which led to momentum-halting victories for one candidate involved supporters of another candidate.
But is really funny is that these supporters who ended up unwillingly leading their opponent to victory weren't making offensive statements or getting arrested. No, it was an innocent question on the campaign trail and a 10 year-old gig in a commercial.
It's a crazy world out there.
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Friday, March 7, 2008
All of a sudden, Pat Roberts, Sam Brownback and Todd Tiahrt are crying foul. After the Department of Defense decided to give the contract to construct new Air Force tankers to Northrop Grumman, meaning the new planes will be built predominantly in France, all of a sudden these legislators have decided outsourcing isn't so great after all.
Sen. Roberts and Brownback, not to mention Sen. McCain, weren't concerned about this possibility in 2003, but now that it's hitting home in their state, Brownback and Roberts have decided maybe a completely unhindered free market isn't such a good thing. McCain still doesn't care.
But what of Todd Tiahrt, he wasn't involved in that 2003 Senate amendment, but is he without blame in this situation?
Rest assured, if the deal had gone to Boeing, Rep. Tiahrt would be the first in line to take credit for swaying the DOD. It cannot be mistaken, Todd Tiahrt is a very powerful member of the House of Representatives. In fact, he was even considered for leadership positions after the 2006 elections.
Moreover, I firmly believe you can tell more from what a politician doesn't say than you can from what he or she does say. If Todd Tiahrt had done anything whatsoever to attempt to influence this decision, you can bet the farm his staff would be tripping over themselves to hold a press conference outlining each and every little email he may have sent to the Pentagon.
Ultimately, I don't think it's fair to say that the situation is Todd Tiahrt's fault. Certainly, Brownback, Roberts and McCain deserve some blame for creating a regulatory environment in which such a deal is possible, but shouldn't Tiahrt have done SOMETHING.
This seems to happen a lot with Rep. Tiahrt. He doesn't do a lot of egregious things, but he doesn't do much good either.
Write Rep. Tiahrt and tell him to start using his power for more than just bringing home earmarks and start fighting for the average Kansan.
On second thought, just donate money and/or volunteer for state Sen. Donald Betts and kill two birds with one stone.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Word from one of the major Republican blogs (I'm not going to post a link, they don't deserve your page views) is Jim Ryun has made a pledge to not request a single earmark if he is elected to the House of Representatives.
First off, not all "porkbarrell spending" is bad. The problem is that under the former Republican Majority (of which Jim Ryun was a member), it had gotten out of control and the projects were 1) ridiculous and 2) put into bills without any debate or even so much as a vote on the floor.
Where was this pledge during the 10 years that Jim Ryun served in the United States House of Representatives? A commenter on the above-mentioned nameless blog aptly described Jim's actions as resembling that of a recovering alcholic. "Hi, my name is Jim Ryun, and I'm addicted to porkbarrell spending."
Did Nancy Boyda request allocations during the 2007 session? Yes, she did. But she has nothing to hide. In fact, she has posted every request she made, even the ones that never made it into law.
These projects are not bridges to nowhere, they're legitimate projects requested in the open that benefit the communities of the 2nd District. Morever, Rep. Boyda has voted to issue a moratorium on further porkbarrell spending until meaningful earmark reform can be decided upon.
Rep. Ryun can make all the promises in the world in his quixotic voyage to win back his seat, but the people of the 2nd District know all to well what Jim Ryun is really about. They lived through 10 years of it.
It seems Mr. Robertson has a short memory. You see, Jim Ryun wasn't exactly a boy scout during his years in Congress.
He was buddy-buddy with the likes of Jack Abramhoff and Tom DeLay. So much so that he felt sorry for their plight and voted to ease ethics rules in the House and even to keep the revolving door of lobbyists and Congresspeople wide open.
He even itemized "caging" -- the illegal practice of identifying questionable voters to challenge at a later date -- on his Federal Expense reports.
We're not the only ones who noticed the hypocrisy. This video was posted at Boyda Bloc as well as Everyday Citizen.
The jury is still out on whether Lynn Jenkins' actions regarding the Learning Quest advertisements are indeed unethical, but one thing is for sure - watching Jim Ryun in his glass (town) house throwing stones is quite humorous.