Front Page » Monthly Archives » Archives: January 2012

Romney's Defense of 'Romneycare'

SALINA, Kan. - It was a memorable highlight in the health care reform debate, one that will undoubtedly be replayed often in the coming months. Afterward, John McDonough, professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, credited Mitt Romney with the "most effective and persuasive rationale and defense of the individual mandate" to date during the presidential campaign.

Rick Santorum elicited the response from Romney during the January 27 debate between the remaining Presidential candidates in Florida. When he tried to attack "Romneycare," what many believe to be Gov. Mitt Romney's biggest policy success in Massachusetts and a model for the federal health care overhaul, Romney responded with one of his best moments of the evening. "If you don't want to buy insurance, then you have to help pay for ... your bill ... no more free riders. We're insisting on personal responsibility. Either get the insurance or help pay for your care."

voting-id-2.jpgTOPEKA, Kan. - As reported in a recent Topeka Capitol Journal article, KanVote exposed a major discrepancy in new voting restrictions which has
resulted in a functional poll tax.

KanVote found that in order to obtain a free voter ID, voters without access to necessary proof of citizenship would be forced to pay for a birth certificate. KanVote made the discrepancy known this week at a rules and regulations hearing held by the Secretary of State's office.

After hearing KanVote's findings, Kris Kobach stated that free birth certificates are available for accessing the free voter ID. He claimed the discrepancy was mere confusion caused by his senator, Kelly Kultala. Kobach blames Kultala for postponing the implementation of voter registration regulations and creating confusion among related agencies regarding when free birth certificates are available.

Upon further investigation, KanVote discovered that the new voting restrictions do not make free birth certificates available to those applying for a voter ID.

Should We Buy a Pig in a Poke?

COLBY, Kan. - Let's take another look at some information that Bob Hooper presented in his article. Some people don't agree with or believe those statistics. But then, I've known some people who would swear on a stack of Bibles that up is down and down is up. Reality is beyond the realm of their existence.

Incidentally, the richest 400 gained 12 percent. from 2010 to 2011. Since 2006, their net worth increased by $250 billion, about 17 percent. On the other hand, "Over the past five years Americans, on average, have seen no disposable income growth if you adjust for population and inflation. This also explains why they're spending like it's 2006 -- because they don't have more money to spend. No wonder the recovery continues to feel like a recession: that's an awfully long time to go without a raise."

Nation Building or Imperialism

COLBY, Kan. - What is your opinion of the promise to rush into Cuba, as soon as Castro 'kicks the bucket', and establish a democracy? I guess the leading Republican contenders for the presidency don't realize the failure of establishing democracy, U.S. style, in Vietnam and Iraq.

I'm not an expert on the state of the Cuban people, but it seems to me they are better off under Castro's rule than they were under the U.S. backed dictator that Castro overthrew. This, in spite of the embargo and isolationism imposed on Cuba by the U.S.

Perhaps we should let the Cuban people decide their own political system. It appears that some Eastern European countries were fairly successful in establishing themselves, after the fall of the U.S.S.R., without direct interference or aid from the U.S.

BOGUE, Kan. - A Jan.11 writer to Reader Forum [Hays Daily News] blustered about "non-factual distortion" by the Obama administration and supporters, then made his own claims.

[CLAIM: "All the money from the richest 400 Americans wouldn't pay our bills for a week."] In 2011 the richest 400 were together worth $1.5 trillion. (Forbes Magazine) Current annual federal spending is estimated at $3.6 trillion; state at $1.43; local, $1.63 trillion. So, the 400's wealth would fund all federal spending for 5 months, state for one year, local for 11 months. All federal, state, and local spending for about 3 months.

Incidentally, the richest 400 gained 12 percent. from 2010 to 2011. Since 2006, their net worth increased by $250 billion, about 17 percent. On the other hand, "Over the past five years Americans, on average, have seen no disposable income growth if you adjust for population and inflation. This also explains why they're spending like it's 2006 -- because they don't have more money to spend. No wonder the recovery continues to feel like a recession: that's an awfully long time to go without a raise."

State of the Union

COLBY, Kan. - I missed the first part of the President's address. GrannyP recorded it and I'll listen to it in the morning. The last portion of his speech, that I got to listen to, seemed to clearly address the state of the union and the political disparities we face. He addressed some issues that we need to resolve and gave his directions he wanted to go.

tax-payer-man-barn-forked-tongue.jpgCOLBY, Kan. - The following is a little snip taken from a Kansas City Star article:

"The Revenue Department's analysis of the Brownback plan examined income tax data from 2009 and breaks down taxpayers into six income brackets. The only bracket with a tax increase ranges from zero up to $25,000.

"That group, made up of 564,328 tax filers, would pay $88.2 million more in taxes under the governor's tax plan. Meanwhile, the highest income bracket making $250,000 a year would pay $110 million less in taxes."

I don't have the resources at my finger tips to validate these figures. But, I've learned that tax reform reflects an advantage for those proposing the reform. Most of Gov. Brownback's agenda is benefiting the upper crust far more than the the hard tack biscuit eaters in the lower income brackets.

Religion Under the Dome

TOPEKA, Kan. - It's official. Kansans can breathe a sigh of relief. According to David Epps with the group Transform Topeka, God has made it possible for Sam Brownback to rule over Kansas.

kansas-state-capitol-3.jpgThe Capitol was turned into a Christian Church as the third floor reverberated with songs and prayer. In the small group that assembled, Governor Brownback stood with radical evangelical, anti-abortion messianic prophets (shades of crazy John Brown) to anoint the 2012 legislative session for the glory of their Religious Right God; a God who just happens to support their extreme social agenda.

This Christian pep rally was part of the "Prayer on the Hill" event organized by the Culture Shield Network. CSN is a faith based advocacy group from Wichita founded by Donna Lippoldt . She maintains that they have "people that pray in the Capitol all day, every day during the whole legislative session,"

Lippoldt might be familiar to some Wichitans. She takes credit for keeping casino's out of Sedgwick County but her real claim to fame would have to be the wasted years she spent harassing patients who sought legal abortions in Wichita, Kansas. Nice to know the governor is hanging with the very people who did so much to demonize, threaten and elevate the climate of violence in Kansas against Dr. Tiller.

Bush Was Right on Redistricting

SALINA, Kan. - "It's actually pretty good," my uncle insisted. When he asked if I had already read my Christmas gift from him, a copy of George W. Bush's Decision Points, I joked that I had been waiting for it to come out in paperback.

My uncle and I frequently give each other books on or by political figures we hold in low esteem. They're sort of gag gifts, but I still usually read them. By listening to opposing points of view one can frequently learn something, and occasionally discover heretofore unknown areas of agreement. I had such an experience reading the 43rd President's book.

Bush's political memoir didn't redefine for me the major points of what I believe his legacy will be for historians. The Bush Presidency will be forever tainted by two disastrous policy decisions - huge tax cuts which ushered in crushing deficits, and the invasion of Iraq, an undertaking billed to a credit card which was not worth the cost. But in a chapter entitled "Leading," he talks of the need to reduce the ideological extremes in Congress and proposes that redistricting be carried out by committees of non-partisan elders.

Relearning from Teddy Roosevelt

BOGUE, Kan. - In his speech last December at Osawatomie KS High School, President Obama cited Theodore Roosevelt's remarks there a century earlier.

Republican President Theodore Roosevelt served from 1901 to 1909. In 1912, representing the Bull Moose Party, he lost to Woodrow Wilson--the only time a 3rd Party candidate has finished as high as second. Every place I looked, Theodore Roosevelt ranks in the top 10 US Presidents, and in none lower than 6th.

In 2010, 238 participating presidential scholars at Siena College Research Institute concluded: "Teddy Roosevelt had, more than any other president, the 'right stuff,' and tops the collective ranking of a cluster of personal qualities including imagination, integrity, intelligence, luck, background and being willing to take risks." He is one of the four U.S. Presidents honored on Mt. Rushmore.

Roosevelt was an environmentalist. He led in establishing 5 national parks, 18 national monuments, and 150 National Forests. I have little doubt as President today he would work with climate scientists to deal with the reality of global warming. As governor of Kansas, he would demand something beyond pious rhetoric to end mining of the Ogallala. But...

Religious Bigotry

COLBY, Kan. - I copied the following from an email I received.

Dear Kansas MoveOn member,

You might be surprised to hear that Mike O'Neal, the Republican Speaker of the Kansas State House of Representatives, is praying for President Obama.

Unfortunately, he's praying for the President's death. And he's exploiting the Bible to do so, circulating an email that cites Psalm 109: "Let his days be few; and let another take his office. May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow."

Sadly, it's not unusual for Republican politicians to use vile and hate-filled rhetoric when speaking about President Obama. But when they exploit religion to do so, people of faith have a moral responsibility to condemn it...

That's why I created a petition to Speaker O'Neal on, which says...

Campaign Baloney

WICHITA, Kan. - According to the Wichita Eagle, Congressman Mike Pompeo is announcing an 'America Flies' aviation campaign.

That's right. Pompeo seems to think Americans need to be educated about what an indispensable asset aviation is for Wichita and America as well.

Yes, just after Boeing stuck it to the people of Wichita and has run out of Dodge with its Tanker deal, Pompeo has shown real political courage by reminding us how much we rely on the aviation industry for jobs and the need to bow down and prostrate ourselves to the gods of aviation.

This "I love airplanes and flying along with my congressional job" campaign, is an about face from last week's performance of outrage and protestations. Pompeo, along with other politicians were lined up like jilted lovers.

WICHITA, Kan. - The recent enactment of Kansas' controversial voter ID law has many concerned that some citizens will not have equal access to the polls on election day and for the soon-to-come referendums.

Those concerned with the law fear that citizens who lack access to the photo ID now required to vote will be disenfranchised this election year. Though the new law requires all DMV's to provide free voter ID's, there has been little effort to educate voters on the new requirements and how to access the free ID's. The Kansas Secretary of State's Website contains incomplete instruction on how to access a free photo ID, and many doubt that DMV employees are prepared to answer these questions.

With Cimarron's first test of this bill happening on Tuesday and Wichita's on Feb 28th a coalition of concerned citizens are ready to take action to ensure that nobody is disenfranchised.

WICHITA, Kan. - The Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) is calling on The Boeing Company to meet all commitments to employees here who worked diligently to help secure the $35 billion U.S. Air Force KC-767 tanker program only to learn Wednesday morning the plant is being shuttered and their work is going elsewhere.

Hypocrisy of the Sanctity of Life

WICHITA, Kan. - As the Kansas legislature gears up for another session of spending most of their time on abortion bills, I could not help but reflect that Rick Santorum would be the presidential candidate to win Kansas.

Everyone knows a candidate in Kansas only has to support one issue to be electable; support the unborn. Nothing else matters; not a good jobs bill, not money for the arts or providing good healthcare and funding public education, but forcing women to give birth is the ticket to elective office in Kansas. This one issue defines evangelical conservatism across America as well.

Nothing illustrates this better than Rick Santorum's campaign leading up to the Iowa Caucus. A voter in Newton, Iowa asked Santorum about his reaction to a liberal journalists who criticized Santorum's decision to take his deceased infant home to show his other children.

The question quite naturally caused Santorum's wife to tear up.

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This is an archive page containing all stories published in Kansas Free Press in January 2012. These are listed from newest to oldest.

December 2011 is the previous archive and February 2012 is the next one.

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