Wednesday, April 30, 2008


The house is in session right now and has yet to vote on the override. Rest assured, if Speaker Neufeld had the votes, the vote would have already taken place. One thing we know, Neufeld has not given up yet. He is still whipping votes and threatening legislators. There is still time. Email your legislator IMMEDIATELY. Tell them to stand up to Speaker Neufeld's strongarm tactics and do what is best for the people of Kansas.


Call your legislator IMMEDIATELY and tell them we don't need these giant, carbon-belching coal plants.

Call your legislator IMMEDIATELY and tell them to push for Governor Kathleen Sebelous' common sense compromise.

While you're at it, call Speaker Neufeld and tell him your sick and tired of him twisting the arms of legislators and holding important projects over their heads.

The future of Kansas is on the line at 2:30. Make the call.

House Roster

Find your legislator

George Bush and Pat Roberts *heart* oil

This is not going to be a conspiracy theorist rant about the "true" motivations behind the boneheaded move to invade Iraq. However, sometimes politicians do things that just make you scratch your head.

Folks in Washington have trying to make political hay out of the rising gas prices, and understandably so, but it makes you wonder "Who's fault is it really?"

Does the blame lay at the feet of the oil producing countries? Economic conditions beyond our control? Our inability to ween ourselves off oil? Politicians who line their pockets with oil company money and then protect their interests over the American people's?

In the end, I think it's a combination of all of these factors, but it's the last one that really bothers me.

The Big Oil companies -- you know the one's that Pat Roberts is so dedicated to protecting -- would have you think their record profits are due to rising costs of doing business.

Anyone who has taken a basic economics class should be perplexed by this statement. The issue isn't that they've seen an increased revenue, which could be plausibly explained by an increase in costs. The issue is they have seen an increase in profit, which means either the increase in cost argument is crap or they have increased the price they charge disproportionately.

But curiously, when President Bush spoke at the rose garden yesterday, he addressed just about everything other than the activities of the major oil companies.
I've repeatedly submitted proposals to help address these problems. Yet time after time, Congress chose to block them. One of the main reasons for high gas prices is that global oil production is not keeping up with growing demand. Members of Congress have been vocal about foreign governments increasing their oil production; yet Congress has been just as vocal in opposition to efforts to expand our production here at home.

OK, fair enough. Demand is growing faster than supply. Can't argue with you here. But there are two ways to curtail that problem. Bush seems obsessed with increasing supply, which in theory would solve the problem. But where is the call to decrease demand? Oh right, that's the thing that's been in all your State of the Union speeches but you never actually did anything about.

They repeatedly blocked environmentally safe exploration in ANWR. The Department of Energy estimates that ANWR could allow America to produce about a million additional barrels of oil every day, which translates to about 27 millions of gallons of gasoline and diesel every day. That would be about a 20-percent increase of oil -- crude oil production over U.S. levels, and it would likely mean lower gas prices. And yet such efforts to explore in ANWR have been consistently blocked.

OK, other than "environmentally safe" drilling in ANWR, what exactly have you proposed to solve any of the problems you mentioned, Mr. President? BTW, ANWR doesn't have enough oil, environmentally safe or not, to have any positive impact on oil prices, but thanks for playing.

Another reason for high gas prices is the lack of refining capacity. It's been more than 30 years since America built its last new refinery. Yet in this area, too, Congress has repeatedly blocked efforts to expand capacity and build more refineries.
This one really gets me.

If a junky is addicted to heroin. All of a sudden heroin prices start skyrocketing. He comes to you and says "Hey man, I need some smack but I don't have a job and prices are a real bitch lately." You don't say, "You know what dude, if you started making your own heroin, you could put it in the market and drastically increase supply while demand stays relatively constant, then you could get your fix at a more reasonable price." You say, "Hey man, let's get you some help so you don't need heroin anymore."

Once again, all of Bush's proposals involve using more oil. He gives passing references to things like ethanol, but the solution to the energy problem in our country and in our world cannot be a band-aid approach. It has to be a wholesale change in our policy outlook.

You don't have to be a tree-hugger to realize that, one of these days, we're going to run out of oil. Obviously, this day isn't coming in the near future, but it seems to this blogger that it would be prudent to figure what the heck we're going to do next.

It seems the oil apologists are stuck in a 20th century mindset (just like they are in foreign policy). The same thing can be said for the coal apologists here in Kansas.

The solution to the oil issue isn't to figure out a way to bring down the price of gasoline and ween ourselves off of foreign oil, its to figure out a cost-effective way to ween ourselves off oil in general.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The NRC is runnin' scared!

Whoa Nellie! The RNC is running around like headless chickens, trying to keep John McCain from looking like John McCain on national TV!!!

The RNC is threatening to sue any network television station who doesn't yank the DNC's new McCain ad, "100," from the air. They're running into just one small problem - both of their charges against the ad are completely untrue.

The truth is, the RNC realizes John W. McCain has made a huge blunder by admitting his indifference toward keeping us in Iraq for another 100 years. In fact, the DNC's ad does nothing more than play the video featuring only McCain and his own words.

Here's the ad:

You can help keep the ad on the air by going here. And, don't worry...
As for the RNC's threats to sue, Dean said, "Let them do it. I understand the RNC thinks it's illegal to criticize John McCain."

DNC General Counsel Joe Sandler said the spot was offered to FNC, too, and that he's gotten "no indication at all from the networks that they have any intention at all of pulling down this ad."
Note to the RNC: Try not to look so desperate. It's tacky...

Monday, April 28, 2008

When in doubt, lie, lie and then lie some more

Remember when Republicans were the party of fiscal responsibility. Somewhere in the past decade or so they decided that it would be easier to just CLAIM to be fiscally responsible, but not actually, you know, do it.

We thought that was going to be part of Lynn Jenkins' campaign in the primary against Jim Ryun. You know the, "If ever there was a time to send a CPA to Washington..." line. Well, apparently she's decided she can't win by actually being fiscally responsible, because that takes a lot of work and requires sacrifices that you just don't have to make when you can simply lie about it.

So Jenkins and Ryun teamed up with Nick "The Tool-man" Jordan to perpetuate one of the NRCC's lies against Dennis Moore and Nancy Boyda.

(Dear TKR and SRK, the above letters in the pretty colors with the funny line underneath them, that's called a "citation" Readers can click on it to see independent confirmation of the claims being made)
Jim Ryun, Lynn Jenkins and Nick Jordan — all Republicans trying to unseat two Democratic congressional incumbents who represent Lawrence — say the Democrats voted for the largest tax increase in the history of the United States.
(OK boys and girls, the above lines with the messed up margins, those are called "block quotes." This is another method of providing verification and credibility to one's argument)

Zing. One point for the radical right. But wait, there's more. It turns out that their statement, powerful though it may be, should we say this...not true.

On that day, the House on a 212-207 vote approved a budget resolution, which Boyda and Moore supported. No Republicans voted for it.

The bill title was: “Revising the congressional budget for the United States government for fiscal year 2008, establishing the congressional budget for the United States government for fiscal year 2009, and setting forth appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2010 through 2013.”

You see, the bill didn't actually do a damn thing to the tax code. So how, pray tell, can you carry out the largest tax increase in the history of the universe without making a single change to the tax code? The answer: you can't.

Sure, Reps. Moore and Boyda, along with other Democrats who are actually fiscally responsible, are willing to let some tax increases on the wealthiest Americans expire, because it was unwise fiscal policy in the first place. (Sorry billionaire oil tycoons, you may only be able to buy one Rolls Royce this year)

But the Republicans don't stop the lying train here. No sir. There are more lies to be told.

In his speech at Americans for Prosperity, Jim Ryun painted a horrifying picture of what might happen when all of the middle class tax cuts are destroyed by the above mentioned vote.

Just one problem, the resolution in question seeks to PRESERVE those tax cuts.

In a speech before the anti-tax group Americans for Prosperity, Ryun said the resolution that Boyda voted for will increase the taxes on millions of Americans, including many in the middle class.

But the resolution also includes policy language that calls for middle income tax relief, including extension of the increase in the child tax credit, relief from the so-called marriage penalty, and other deductions aimed at the middle class.

“Nancy has always believed that the middle class relief should be made permanent,” said her spokesman Thomas Seay. He said the sunset clauses in Bush’s plan don’t take effect until 2011. “Nancy has said again and again that when this issue reaches a vote, she’ll support extending middle class tax relief,” Seay said.

Oh right...the facts again. (NOTE: TKR and SRK...facts are things that are verifiable accurate. In addition to citations and block quotes, you should consider adding these to your blogs as well.)

Don't believe a politician on either side? I don't blame you. But typically you can trust the non-partisan research institutes. Not Center for American Progress or Americans for Prosperity, the actual research organizations that care about...research.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says the budget resolution contains no tax increase, let alone the largest in U.S. history.

The resolution approved by the House assumed that the nation’s tax law would be amended to extend some of the expiring tax cuts, especially those affecting middle class families, according to the center, which is a nonpartisan group that works on policies and programs that affect low- and moderate-income families. The costs of those tax cuts would be offset by other changes in policy, which could include eliminating the tax cuts for the very wealthy, some Democrats have argued.

Of the allegations made by the Republicans, Aviva Aron-Dine, a policy analyst with the center, said, “Our view is that that claim is inaccurate.”

She added, “The language of tax increases is very powerful. It’s important to correct the record.”

Time and time again, I find myself think "Stephen Colbert was right." The truth really does have a liberal bias.

Tip of the hat to BoydaBloc.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Breakin' the Rules...

John McCain is in hot water with the FEC for breaking campaign finance rules - the same rules he helped write in 2000.

Now, to prevent further scrutiny from the FEC, he's just finding people to break the rules for him.

His campaign was given a discount of about 80 percent off the standard booking rate for Rosewood Hall. In September, Jefferson County Democrats rented the same facility and were charged the full rate.

The McCain campaign was charged $250 to use two rooms in the hall, which normally would book for $1,200 on a weeknight. The campaign also was given free labor from Homewood City Jail inmates to set up tables and chairs for the event, avoiding a $100 set-up fee, but did pay a standard $50 cleaning fee.


Homewood Mayor Barry McCulley said the rental rate was discounted because the event was on Monday, a slow day for business. City Council members say they always vote on such discounts but didn't get a say in this deal.

McCulley said he and City Council President Ginger Busby agreed on the lower rate for McCain's event. He said minor policy changes such as this don't require council approval.

Busby says there was a miscommunication.

"The mayor asked me if the hall could be free for the McCain event, and I said absolutely not," Busby said. "He then asked if it was appropriate to charge a lesser fee for Mondays. I said as long as it didn't cost the city money, it could be considered."

Busby said she did not know what the charge was or that city inmates were involved. She didn't attend the event and was at a soccer game Monday night, she said.

City Councilman David Hooks said that the council typically debates and votes each time there is a request to discount or waive the rent, but that didn't happen this time.

"I'd be concerned with the legal ramifications of that, from the city's perspective," Hooks said. "It could be a problem for the city to have made in-kind donations to a political candidate by charging less rent or having inmates do work for the event."

Senate fundraising numbers

Here at LeftBrainKansas, we continue to be your only source for campaign finance data (other than our friends at Boyda Bloc of course, but they're sort of limited in their coverage) Today, we bring you the US Senate numbers (save for Jim Slattery, who's report has yet to be posted to the FEC's web site). Obviously, Sam Brownback is not running, but he's spending money, so we decided to include him as well. We'll update this as soon as Slattery's report is posted.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Sucks to be John McCain

Poor John McCain only made $420,000 last year. Compared to the millions brought in by Obama and Clinton, you almost start to feel sorry for the old guy. I mean, if he wanted to buy a brand new Ferrari, he might have to FINANCE it. *GASP* Obviously, living on such an income clearly means he's in touch with the common man.

Ok, back to reality. You see, while John McCain's tax returns may say he's made less than $800,000 over the past two years, that hardly paints an accurate picture of the the senator's financial means.

This is because Sen. McCain and his wife elected to file separately, meaning he doesnt' have to claim any of his wife's earnings on his tax return. In layman's terms, this means he can hide from the American people just how rich he really is.

But a recent Slate story sheds some light on the McCain's financial situation. The thing that stuck out to me is the McCain's spent more than $400,000 on "household staff" in 2006 and 2007. Man of the people alright.

Does it matter that John McCain has money? No. Being rich doesn't preclude you from being a good President. Anymore, just about anyone who has made it to this level in politics is going to be at least of above average wealth and both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are well-to-do. That part doesn't bother us, what bothers us is Sen. McCain trying to come off as a man of the people and not being entirely forthcoming about his own financial status.

Network TV War Analysts: Robots in Disguise

The Bush administration lied to the American people about Iraq, and then spent seven years and billions of dollars covering up that lie.

I know this is no longer a surprise to anyone, but it still makes me angry.

And yesterday's story in The New York Times made me especially angry because it involves television network news and I HATE television network news. Fox, CNN, NBC - you name it, I hate it. And here's just another example of why:
In the summer of 2005, the Bush administration confronted a fresh wave of criticism over Guantánamo Bay. The detention center had just been branded “the gulag of our times” by Amnesty International, there were new allegations of abuse from United Nations human rights experts and calls were mounting for its closure.

The administration’s communications experts responded swiftly. Early one Friday morning, they put a group of retired military officers on one of the jets normally used by Vice President Dick Cheney and flew them to Cuba for a carefully orchestrated tour of Guantánamo.

To the public, these men are members of a familiar fraternity, presented tens of thousands of times on television and radio as “military analysts” whose long service has equipped them to give authoritative and unfettered judgments about the most pressing issues of the post-Sept. 11 world.

Hidden behind that appearance of objectivity, though, is a Pentagon information apparatus that has used those analysts in a campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the administration’s wartime performance, an examination by The New York Times has found.

Reading on...
Internal Pentagon documents repeatedly refer to the military analysts as “message force multipliers” or “surrogates” who could be counted on to deliver administration “themes and messages” to millions of Americans “in the form of their own opinions.
We know the Bush administration flushed their ethics down the toilet long ago - but why these "journalists" allowed individuals - with not only known financial ties to contractors in Iraq but also close ties to the Bush administration - to act as independent voices on their "news" makes me sick.

In a Q&A related to this piece, NYTimes reporter David Bastow was asked if he discovered why the major network executives and news editors didn't vet their "analysts." Here's his answer:
Two networks, CBS and Fox News, declined to answer any questions about their use of military analysts, including what specific steps they took to vet them for business ties that could pose conflicts and what ethical guidelines they established for them. NBC would not allow any executives to be interviewed, but released a short statement saying it had “clear policies in place’’ to avoid even the perception of a conflict of interest. Spokesmen for CNN and ABC said that while their military analysts were expected to keep them informed of outside sources of income, neither network had written ethics policies governing potential conflicts of interest with their analysts.

But the question you raise – why didn’t the network news executives try to “close the gap’’ between what journalists were reporting and what some analysts were saying – is a good one. One possible answer: Several analysts said in interviews that network news officials tended to defer to their experience and expertise in military matters.
Are you as disgusted as I am?

Healthcare "reform

Friday, April 18, 2008

Rep. Bill Otto is CRAAAAAAZY

This guy is CRAZY. And to think he actually holds a public office.

KS GOP on The Internets

If you head over to The Google on The Internets and type in Kansas Republican Party, what you'll find may just be a microcosm of why the Kansas Republican Party just can't seem to catch any breaks lately.

You see, the KS GOP web site, in addition to not being the most attractive site around, hasn't been updated since January 10 of this year. Oh, sorry, they do have an national news section that is probably automatically generated.

If you'll recall the email sent by Kris Kobach at the end of last year -- you know, the one where he bragged about illegal voter suppression.

Well, there was something else in that email too. Kobach said the KSGOP was on the verge of starting....a blog.
We have instituted a wholesale technological change at Party headquarters. We have updated everything, from our website to our email system. Additionally, we are getting ready to launch the official Republican Party blog—to further help spread the positive actions of all of Republican elected officials.
Apparently, there are no positive actions of Republican elected officials for to spread, because to the best of this bloggers knowledge, no such blog was ever launched.

The KS GOP did have a brilliant idea to use The Internets to get their supporters involved with the shaping of the party's new platform. This initiative, called 50 Ideas, was kicked off with an "Idearaiser" (get it, it's like a fundraiser only instead of giving money, you give ideas. BRILLIANT!)

A committee was formed, chaired by Rep. Peggy Mast of Emporia. There was even a 50 Ideas blog.

All of this was to culminate in the release of a new, totally revamped, grassroots inspired party platform. Only such a release never occurred. Perhaps Rep. Mast was too busy trying to root out gangsta rap from our communities.

The web site and blog have been dormant since October of 2007.

But all that might just change, you see the KS GOP sent out an email today proclaiming anew their commitment to the 50 Ideas...idea. Although, they apparently forgot to put any new content on the web site to which they direct people in the email.

No matter, things around here are about to change...
It’s no secret that the State of Kansas is facing some substantial problems as
we look towards the future. The government needs answers.

The 2008
Kansas Republican Party Platform seeks to find answers and provide solutions to cure Kansas’ stagnant and downward spiraling economy, curb violent crime, make
government more open and accountable, prepare Kansans to compete in a global
economy by making our schools not just good, but great, and maintain the values
and beliefs of America’s heartland.

Our vision of a better Kansas does not start in the halls of the Capitol or with the input of special interest lobbyists. It starts with people like you.

Republicans believe that the best and most effective government is the government closest to the people. We want to listen to people’s thoughts, discover their dreams, and renew a sense of hope and optimism.

Join with us today and submit your ideas to pioneer change in Kansas.

Welcome back to The Internets, Christian and Kris! I'll look forward to hearing more on these "50 ideas."

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Campaign finance totals: US House

Here's a table of all the finance numbers for the candidate for US House.

We will post a smiliar table for the state parties later today and one for the US Senate candidates when that data becomes available.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Fundraising update: Donald Betts, StayRed lies

Donald Betts' campaign fundraising totals have been posted, and we'll admit we were a little disappointed. During the first quarter, when Betts spent most of his time in Topeka doing the job the people of the 29th District elected him to do, the campaign brought in $35,771.91. The campaign has $13,424.98 Cash On Hand.

This certainly makes his campaign to unseat Todd Tiahrt more difficult, but it is 3 1/2 times more money than Garth McGinn raised during the entire campaign. Nobody expected Betts to match Tiahrt dollar for dollar, so he'll just have to outwork him. But even with an aggressive ground game, Betts needs to step up the fundraising (hint, hint).

In other news, StayRedKansas posted Nick Jordan's fundraising numbers under a headline that can only be described as a lie. "Jordan Out-Raises Moore In Net Fund Raising Receipts." Uh, no. As we reported earlier (see here and here)

True: Nick Jordan has spent less money in the past three months (turns out doing absolutely nothing is really cheap).

False: Nike Jordan outraised Dennis Moore. Last time I checked, the person who "outraises" the other is the one who raises the most money. I'm not a mathemetician, but by my calculations, $185,209.98 > $166,212.25.

Just another lie from StayRed, don't know why we're surprised.

Bush Tax Cuts: Middle-class vs. Millionaires

It's Tax Day! Do you know where your obligatory "Democrats want to take all of your money" Kansas GOP email is?

Thaaaaaat's right. It's time for Republicans to beat their chests and get red in the face and start screaming about how Democrats are voting for the largest tax increase in the history of time.

Which is, of course, a lie.

For starters, those tax cuts don't really help the majority of us. This report from Citizens for Tax Justice explains how the Bush tax cuts provide little benefit for the middle-class, and instead benefit the top 1% of Americans. CTJ writes:
The Bush tax cuts provide extremely wealthy families with vast benefits. The richest one percent of families will get an average tax cut of $92,000 in 2010, including cuts in income and estate taxes. The average income for families in the top one percent will be $1.6 million in 2010, and yet, the President and his allies in Congress have showered the most generous tax cuts on these fortunate families.

Meanwhile, the poorest 60 percent will get only 12-15 percent of the total tax cuts.
And just what has been the result of Bush's "historic tax cuts" (for rich people)?

(A) Skyrocketing national debt
(B) Flailing economy
(C) Low consumer confidence
(D) Reduction in domestic services
(D) All of the above

So, thank you, Kansas GOP - for taking the time to remind us why you can't be trusted when it comes to the economy. Hey, at least you people are consistent.

Fundraising Update: Jim Slattery

We already reported Pat Roberts' campaign numbers, now an Associated Press story printed in today's Wichita Eagle has approximate numbers for Democratic candidate Jim Slattery as well.
Republican Sen. Pat Roberts is reporting nearly $3 million in the bank for
his latest re-election bid, while his leading Democratic challenger raised more
than $250,000 since entering the race last month.

The latest totals for the Kansas Senate race indicate that Roberts will
face a vigorous challenge in his quest for a third term.

Considering that Jim Slattery only filed his Statement of Candidacy with the FEC on March 14, that means he has raised a quarter million dollars in less than a month, not too shabby.


This is going to be a busy day, so bear with us as we post multiple times.

Dennis Moore's finance report is up, and as expected he out-raised Nick Jordan yet again.

Moore hauled in $185,209.98. As we reported yesterday, Nick Jordan brought in $166,212.25.

Moore is leading the COH battle $848,455.94 to $371,205.75.

As Kris Kobach can tell you, even with $1 million, Dennis Moore is tough to beat. It's not looking good for Sen. Jordan in the 3rd District.


Pat Roberts camp sent out an email to his supporters with some basic numbers in it for their 1Q haul. Thanks to the reader that forwarded this email to us.

According to the email, Roberts raised $522,024.00 and has around $3 million in cash on hand. This doesn't (or at least shouldn't) come as a surprise to anyone. We knew whoever went up against Roberts was going to have to overcome a fundraising deficit.

Word on the street is Jim Slattery is putting up some impressive numbers in a very short period of time. We'll keep you posted throughout the day as reports pop up.

After all the dust has settled, we will post a breakdown of all the fundraising numbers for the four US House Races and the Senate race, as well as the two state parties.

Monday, April 14, 2008


Nick Jordan filed his FEC report today and reported raising a measley $166,212.25 1Q 2008, leaving his campaign with $371,205.75 cash on hand heading into the second quater.

For some perspective, in Q4 2007, Jordan raised $97,397.36 to Dennis Moore's $207,380.26. As of year-end 2007, Dennis Moore had $665,495.96 in the bank.

Jordan is going to have to step it up if he wants to unseat a popular incumbent in Dennis Moore. Jordan just doesn't have the name reconigition or charisma to win in a race where he is up against a major fund-raising deficit.

Donald Betts campaign update

As we've said, this race will be anything but easy, but this is good news to show that Sen. Donald Betts is running a full-time campaign. Todd Tiahrt has won his previous races by default, and Sen. Betts has a great chance to make the race very competitive. He can be this year's Nancy Boyda. Below is some media coverage from Sen. Betts' tour of the 4th District with former 4th District Congressman Dan Glickman.

Todd Tiahrt is a slimy politician and anyone who has spent even a few minutes with him has seen this. If Sen. Betts can keep this going, we believe he can slay the dragon despite the massive fundraising disadvantage he'll likely be up against.
(P.S. click here to donate to Sen. Betts' campaign and help close that gap)

Friday, April 11, 2008

BREAKING: Roberts downgraded by CQPolitics

We've been hammering on Pat Roberts lackluster polling data (see here and here) and his inability/unwillingness to protect American jobs (see here, here, here, here, here and here) and people are finally starting to realize that this race is going to be one worth watching. In a story released today by CQ Politics, the Roberts vs. Slattery/Jones race was downgraded (or upgraded, depending on your perspective) from "Safe Republican" to "Republican Favored."

The story had some interesting quotes from Kansas politicos, and even a GOP employee.

The GOP of course brought out their tired line about Slattery having worked in Washington, D.C. after getting caught up in the Republican Tidal Wave of 1994 and losing his gubernatorial election to Bill Graves.
“He abandoned the state 14 years ago for Washington’s special interests,” charged Corrie Kangas, political director at the Kansas Republican Party. “He’s a poster child for everything gone wrong in Washington.” She added her opinion that Roberts “has a strong record of achievements standing up for Kansans.”
Once you get over the initial shock of realizing the someone besides Christian Morgan works for the KS GOP, you can see the stupidity of this statement. Pat Roberts left Kansas in 1962 and has never looked back.

Pat Roberts is a Kansan like Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Penn.) is a Kansan.

Hell, Barack Obama's Kansas roots are practically deeper than Pat Roberts'.

But more than just having lived in Washington for the past, oh, four decades, Roberts is a lap-dog for the Bush Administration and presided over the Senate "intelligence" Committee during some of the worst atrocities committed by the United States since...ok, just since Ronald Reagan, but still.
“He’s been carrying the Bush administration’s water for seven years now,” Mike Gaughan, the executive director of the Kansas Democrats, said of Roberts. “He turned his back on middle-class Kansans. Kansans are tired of politicians who pledge allegiance to the Bush party. They’re looking for a uniting candidate.”
Finally, the piece highlights the most recent abysmal failure of Roberts' tenure in

Some observers also think Democrats may be able raise an issue about Roberts’ effectiveness in the wake of the awarding of a $40 billion contract for refueling tanker planes to a European company instead of Boeing Corporation. Boeing has factories that are major employers in Wichita, the largest city in Kansas.

“The tanker deal was a shocker, with Wichita so tied into aviation,” said Bob Beatty, an associate professor of political science at Washburn University in the state capital of Topeka. “There could be a lot of ads on this issue, not from Slattery but probably from issue groups. Especially in the Wichita area, they could come in and hammer hard and negative.”

But even that prospect left Beatty sanguine about Slattery’s chances for an upset of Roberts. “Certainly, the Republican is favored at this point. A lot of things have to happen for Slattery,” Beatty said.

It's time for a Senator who has the guts to stand up to the likes of John McCain when they want to ship Kansas jobs to France, and not do what George W. Bush tells them to.

Lynn Jenkins: Treasurer or candidate for Congress?

In a story that has been slowly simmering for the past few months, Lynn Jenkins is beginning to take some more heat over the American Century ads bearing her smiling mug. After the first bit of controversy started when Ric Anderson of the Topeka Capital-Journal and Steve Kraske of the Kansas City Star both wrote pieces criticizing, for different reasons, Jenkins' role in the advertising campaign. (The Star has taken the above-mentioned stories off their web site)

In typical amateur fashion. the Jenkins camp flew off the handle, ultimately culminating in this defensive guest column in the Kansas City Star in which she claimed that her presence in these advertisements was at the request of American Century and based on "extensive research" which showed that her face makes the ads all the more effective.

However, when pressed to provide such research, all the Treasurer's office could come up with was a power point slide with this ambiguous, unattributed quote.
"They see it's from Lynn Jenkins and it's professionally done and that impresses people and carries a lot of weight."

Really, it doesn't matter, at least according to the Federal Election Commission.

Sure, when the ads ran at the end of 2006, right before her 2nd election for State Treasurer, we kind of rolled our eyes and said "How convenient."

Now, as a candidate for Congress, Jenkins is subject to FEC regulations. and since these ads are paid for by American Century, it doesn't matter if she makes them more effective or if she had no idea they might benefit her politically. The fact is they do benefit her politically, which constitutes an in-kind contribution from a corporation, which is illegal in elections for Federal office.

Is it her responsibility as State Treasurer to promote this 529 program personally? Ya, probably. But it's also her responsibility as a candidate for Congress to adhere to all laws and regulations set forth by the relevant governing bodies.

Something has to give. This isn't just a matter of her election being a distraction from her duties or causing a time crunch, we are to the point where her responsibilities as State Treasurer are leading to violations of FEC regs. Lynn needs to decide if she's the Kansas State Treasurer or if she's a candidate for Congress. She just can't do both anymore.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Crazy out, crazy in

Kansas lost the very best State Representative/blogger yesterday. Yes, Rep. Ben Hodge resigned, effective at the end of the wrap-up session. Some of you more astute readers may be saying, "WTF, his term is over at the end of the wrap-up session, why not just announce you aren't seeking re-election?"

The answer? With Ben Hodge, who knows. Under this scenario, Scott Schwab (who inside sources have informed us is actually Undead) will likely be appointed his successor by the Republican Central Committee in Johnson County (of which Schwab is the chair), but he would still have to run for "re-election" in November. Schwab has already held this seat once, ceding to Hodge to launch a quixotic yet unsuccessful run at being slaughtered by Dennis Moore (he couldn't get past the primary), so it's not like he would benefit too much from the "incumbency."

Personally, I think it was just because Hodge is too lazy to go to committee meetings over the summer.

Unfortunately, we likely haven't seen the last of this God of Hacks. According to the KC Star, he'll be reaking havoc on a different part of Johnson County, most likely challenging Barbara Allen in the 8th Senate District. Apparently she is too normal for Ben's tastes.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Donald Betts is playing for keeps

Some have criticized state Sen. Donald Betts' campaign for Congress as being a joke and said he didn't have a chance. I feel this negativity is misplaced. Betts is immensely qualified and is an extremely charismatic and likable guy who is very popular in the Wichita metro area. The only concern I had is whether he would get out and raise the money and make himself known in the areas outside of Sedgwick/Butler counties.

Betts has been out and about already more than Garth McGinn was in 2006. Anyone who thinks that Tiahrt is untouchable should take a look at the numbers from '06, McGinn got 34% of the vote. Not that bad for someone who barely campaigned and raised only $10,000. (Betts had already raised $20,000 by the end of '07)

Now, according to the Wichita Eagle, Betts is scheduled to do a tour of the 4th District and hold a series of events with former 4th District Congressman and current MPAA CEO Dan Glickman.

Has Betts run a perfect campaign so far? Hardly. I'd love to see six figures on his year-end 2007 numbers. But he's already raised twice as much as McGinn ever did and is getting help from Dan Glickman who is very popular in the 4th District. Anytime you're running against a six-term incumbent with a seven-figure warchest, it's going to be an uphill battle.

But if Garth McGinn, can get 34% against Tiahrt, anything can happen.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Crowson: Think alternative government

Democratic Domination, explained

Sometimes I find myself daydreaming about the drubbing the KS GOP received from Democrats in the 2006 election cycle and wondering "How the Hell did we Democrats do so well in a state where the registration numbers say we should get our clocks cleaned every year?"

Well, I think the majority of the reason is Democrats have a vastly superior organization on the ground and some great candidates. But there is something else that sometimes I have trouble putting my finger on. And then I get another email from Christian Morgan and it all comes back to me. Let's break down the latest (sent at 10:51 on a Friday night...I bet that got a lot of play, Christian!)

Democrat Week in Review

Say it with me now...Democratic...Democratic. Democrat is a noun, Democratic is the adjective. It's hard to take you seriously when your grammar is so piss-poor.

In case you missed it, here are a couple of highlights from the last week.

Kathleen Sebelius

In her continuing attempts to use Kansas as a stepping stone for her national political ambitions, the Governor was in New York this week discussing the Republican led legislature's ideas on reducing crime and recidivism rates in the state—while the Legislature was hard at work trying to undo her rejection of the most substantial job growth opportunity for Western Kansas in the last decade.

Of course, all of our kids will have emphysema, but by God their grandfathers would have been given a chance to work construction on a power plant (of course, chances are those jobs would've gone to out of state skilled laborers, but that's neither here nor there.)

While she was gone, she also managed ignore the hard work of House and Senate Republicans by taking credit for Kansas being one of the "Pollina Corporate Top 10 Pro-Business States."

We can't help but wonder if the authors of StayRedKansas and the authors of this email share the same brain waves. Much like StayRed, good ol' Christian didn't feel the need to cite (or apparently read) the study he mentions. We'll help. See here or here. The author of the study said the results reflected a commitment from the Governor's office to business friendly practices. We'll give the legislature credit for the criminally-low minimum wage in Kansas, though.

But we were quick to point out that it's because of the Republican legislature passing pro-business tax credits, economic growth incentives, and tax cuts that make Kansas such a business friendly state. The Governor seemed to forget that she stood in the way of these policies by proposing tax increases, socialized medicine, and rejecting job growth proposals.

Yes, because most businesses our against providing free health care to children under 5. Which, by the way, Susan Wagle is now all for. Too bad she waited until after George W sure there was no money to fund her new-found pet project.

Nancy Boyda

There seems to be a disconnect between the freshman Democrat's rhetoric and her actions in Washington. A few weeks ago, she made a big splash in the press about how she was not going to use auto-dial calls during her campaign. A few days later, residents across the 2nd District received an auto-dial message from Boyda's office. While she didn't specify that she wouldn't auto-dial from her official office, we find this just another case of Boyda not following through on her promises to the people of the 2nd District.

I'm not a big fan of robocalls, but a robocall from Nancy Boyda's office asking me what I think would be more than I (or anyone else) ever got from Jim Ryun, and he was in office for 10 years. If she wasn't conducting these surveys, this space would be used to criticize her for not being in touch with her district.

Speaking of not following through, Boyda made earmarks a major campaign issue in 2006, but has repeatedly failed to live up to her end of the bargain. She stated, "The earmark process has been abused in the past. Members of Congress have set aside funds for programs that turned out to personally benefit them." Yet this year, she has submitted $48 million in special earmark requests; we'll leave it to your good judgment whether her millions in earmarks "personally benefit" Mrs. Boyda.

Careful Christian, we now know that Todd Tiahrt, Sam Brownback, Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts all handed out more money in earmarks this year than did Nancy Boyda, and since Boyda is the only one on that list who makes her earmark requests public on her web site, this probably isn't a fight you want to start.

Thankfully, change is coming to Washington and you can be a part of it. Click here to contribute to the KS GOP and help us keep this liberal Democrat accountable.

Dennis Moore

Dennis is known for saying one thing in his district and voting the other way in Washington, DC. Most recently, he has been practicing this bad habit with two crucial pieces of legislation—FISA and the SAVE Act (immigration reform).

First, Dennis Moore promised to support a bipartisan Senate bill that would have protected those who helped protect America after 9/11 but then voted with Nancy Pelosi to block this bipartisan legislation and passed a bill that not only fails to protect those who have helped America fight terrorists but allows for a massive pay off to powerful special interests like the trial Lawyers.

The Wall Street Journal recently highlighted Moore's double-cross on this important issue. To read the whole story click here.

Wow, after Nancy Boyda shoved this argument where the sun don't shine, they've moved on to Dennis Moore. Well guess what, the facts don't change regardless of who is on the receiving end of your baseless attacks. See this factcheck piece in Newsweek.

And then there is immigration reform. Moore states that he supports "...strong reforms that will improve our border security and make our immigration policies more realistic, enforceable, and complimentary to the global economy we live in...." however, he is standing in the way of meaningful reform by blocking the SAVE Act (Secure America with Verification and Enforcement) which would improve border security and boost immigration law enforcement.

It is clear that Dennis Moore has become part of the broken system in Washington that is failing us. It is time for a change.

I wonder why they haven't attacked Nancy Boyda on immigration...oh right, it's because she's already done more to address the issue than Jim Ryun managed in his entire 10 years in Congress. Although, I think I've done more to combat illegal immigration since I started writing this post than Jim Ryun ever did. Look, the fact of the matter is that Nick Jordan is a massive tool. Why they even bother wasting their time on this race is beyond me. Maybe it's just sour grapes on the part of Kris Kobach since Dennis Moore trounced him by double figures.

Apparently though, they have nothing to say in support of Todd Tiahrt or Pat Roberts.

Since they're using these lies and fabrications as a fundraising tool, lets hit'm right back. Below are the web sites for our federal candidates. Support them in any way you can, whether it's volunteering, donating $5 or donating $2,300. We've done well in 2006 and our situation is looking pretty strong again, but we're always up against a staggering registration advantage, so complacency is not an option.

Jim Slattery

Lee Jones

Donald Betts

Dennis Moore

Nancy Boyda

Kansas Democratic Party

Friday, April 4, 2008

Powerful message on Wichita school bond issue

We here at LBK admit we are not informed on the merits of the controversial school bond issue in Wichita, or even what all it entails. That said, we felt this piece from Wichita Eagle editorial cartoonist Richard Crowson (who loyal readers will know we are a HUGE fan of) entitled "The Big Gamble" is very moving.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

What say you, Americans for Prosperity

After listening to Americans for Prosperity drone on and on about what a horrible state for business we find ourselves in, some might have been shocked when they happened upon a recent story in the Lawrence Journal-World entitled "Kansas No. 10 Pro-business state."

Using 29 categories — including taxes, quality of life, human resources, labor, education, infrastructure and incentive programs — the study’s authors indicate the best places to expand a business.

In Kansas’ case, the state fared well by having a relatively high-quality work force, plus relatively low costs for utility services (emphasis added) unemployment insurance and workers compensation rates, said Brent Pollina, the study’s lead author.

Kansas also has effective professionals working on economic-development activities at the state level, he said, reflecting a commitment from the governor’s office.

Though the story does say Kansas is 38th in business taxes, it goes on to say that it is still a very hospitable state for business.
“Kansas actually is one of the rare states out there that seems to being doing right by the business community in their state,” said Pollina, vice president for the Chicago-based firm, which provides project-management services for Fortune 500 companies and others looking to expand into new areas of North America. “They have been constantly going over what the state government does and trying to make improvements on it, whereas most of the other states out there figure good enough is good enough.”
Looks like all those horror stories Alan Cobb and his anti-tax cronies tell you have no basis in reality. But then again, we've seen how well Alan Cobb deals with reality.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


We've been on our friends at StayRedKansas and TheKansasRepublican a lot lately, trying to ascertain why, if they care so much about Kansas jobs, they haven't posted a single post regarding the disastrous decision to outsource a military contract to AirBus. You know, the one that John McCain tacitly endorsed while Sam Brownback, Pat Roberts and Todd Tiahrt twiddled their thumbs.

Well finally, after all of our efforts, TheKansasRepublican used the word Boeing in one of their posts. Fear not, they also talked about Holcomb and there were still plenty of sophomoric personal insults, so they're not ill or something.
While Tihart may have to fend off unwarranted accusations of the Boeing deal gone south, the facts will clearly prevent any of Betts’ mud from sticking. Few congressmen have delivered for their district the way Tihart has, and he maintains a large network of support throughout the 4th. The war in Iraq will certainly not ring the way it did against Republicans in 06, and Tihart has the warchest/ work ethic that will make the 4th nearly impossible to lose. Betts will need more than a few senate accomplishments and a kiss from "Kathy the cougar" to defeat "Todd the god."
Naturally, they didn't provide any evidence for why the accusations against Tiahrt are unfounded. It's possible they're just lazy, but our best guess is they don't have any. If you'd like so more intelligent analysis (with citations even!!!), see here, here, here and here. See also here.

More than just a weak defense of the Boeing deal, their argument for why Tiahrt will crush Sen. Donald Betts is that Tiahrt brings home the bacon from his powerful seat on the House Appropriations Committee.

This we cannot argue with. Todd Tiahrt loves him some earmarks. But this very same blog, in the post immediately prior to this one, criticizes Nancy Boyda for using earmarks for such wasteful things as equipment for local law enforcement and water treatment plants.

So Wyatt, Carrie, Doc, Custer, Wild Bill and all the rest, tell us, why is bringing home the bacon a reason to re-elect Todd Tiahrt in the 4th District, but grounds to toss out Nancy Boyda in the 2nd? Is there something about Todd Tiahrt's earmarks that is somehow more justifiable than Nancy Boyda's or even Dennis Moore's?

Readers, see for yourself. Here is a list of Nancy Boyda's earmark requests and here is the same list for Dennis Moore. You see, Reps. Moore and Boyda are some of the very few in Congress to make all of their earmark requests public on their web site. I would link to Rep. Tiahrt's, but....

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Mr. Mediocre

Yet another Survey USA approval rating poll has been released for Sen. Pat Roberts and the "wildly popular" Senator continues to be...well...not wildly popular. (Historical analysis on Roberts lackluster polling is here)

His ratings did tick up, from 51% to 52%, but let's take a look at the numbers in depth.

In Western Kansas, where comparatively few people live, Roberts enjoyed a very strong 72% (19% of those surveyed).
In the Wichita area, his approval rating dips down to 50% (30% of those surveyed.
In Eastern Kansas, which makes up an overwhelming majority of the state's population, his approval rating dips to 46% and makes up 51% of those surveyed.

Basically, without a single iota of campaigning from Jim Slattery, a popular six-term Congressman from 2nd District in his own right, Roberts is looking at a 52-48 race. Hardly a slam dunk.

But let's look at something else: the undecideds.

In the Wichita area, 19% were unsure of their feelings on Pat Roberts. In Eastern Kansas, that number is 15% and overall it was also 15%.

That means that of the 600 adults that took the time to take part in this phone survey (which, for the record, had a margin of error of +/- 4.1%) nearly 100 of them were unsure.

Now, we do not wish to contend that this race is a lock for the Democrats either. Slattery faces a primary (Lee Jones) and Roberts will probably end up with over $4 million to slander whomever the Democratic nominee is, but it looks like the Nancy Boyda vs. Jim Ryun/Lynn Jenkins race will not be the only throwdown in Kansas this election cycle.

Cross posted at DailyKos.