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mike-pompeo.jpgEMPORIA, Kan. - Wichita Congressional Representative, Mike Pompeo, today proposed cutting 45 million dollars for alternative energy vehicle research (essentially rolling back spending to 2007 or 2008 budget levels depending on who's counting).

Mr. Pompeo believes the funds are part of President Obama's "liberal agenda" to have bureaucrats in Washington dictate the free market through the improper application of funding and tax credits.

Hmm, wonder what Mr. Pompeo would say about subsidies to the oil industry which most Republicans have refused to cut despite record profits amid very high costs to the consumer for gasoline...

Koch Brothers Outsource Jobs

koch-industries.jpgEMPORIA, Kan. - This week brings news that several Republican governors attended a "retreat" in Vale, Colorado sponsored by the influential Koch brothers.

Charles and David Koch are the heirs to Koch Industries, one of the largest privately held companies in the U.S., and a driving force in far-right Republican politics. Using Astro-turf organizations like Americans for Prosperity (full disclosure: I attended one of their "candidate trainings" in Topeka while running for Emporia City Council which included glossy brochures that referenced how The Left liked to steal elections), the Koch brothers lavish campaign donations to those who are willing to embrace their brand of 1920's capitalism.

The Kochs made their billions the old fashioned way. They inherited it! Hence, they were raised by their parents to subscribe to a political and economic philosophy that is based on the supposed "enlightened oligarchy" model of democracy that existed during the run-up to the Great Depression. Back then, a handful of families such as the Rockefellers, Carnegies and Vanderbilts controlled the levers of economic power.

Dispatch from Reading

READING, Kan. - Following up on last night's trip to Reading to check on a client, I accompanied my neighbors, Clyde and Carolyn, in a return visit this afternoon. For those who want to help, check in with the Highway Patrol who are monitoring Interstate 170 both east and west of town. They provided us with a piece of paper that asked for your name and which resident you were intending to assist. The police also ask that you provide a phone number (but I couldn't get cell service anyway) and leave by 6 pm.

Updated 8:32 pm: OK, it seems I was mistaken about volunteers being able to just drive to Reading and check in with the cops. Mike Dorse,y who's in charge of the Lyon County Community Organization Active in Disaster, indicates that all volunteers need to check in at the Lyon County Extension Center (that's on west Highway 50) at 9:00 am to board buses to Reading. He says that if anyone goes in alone then they will be turned away.

Most of the town has been effected.

EMPORIA, Kan. - Sorry I haven't posted in awhile folks but I've been busy with a city council primary race. The primary is tomorrow and if I'm fortunate enough to get into the general on April 5th I'll have even less time to keep writing but I'll try.

OK, so why am I running? Simple enough. The current city council is out of touch with the pocket book issues of the average voter.

Graduation Tells Macro Story

EMPORIA, Kan. - I attended the December graduation ceremony for Emporia State University where my wife is a professor. In casually scanning the brochure that had been prepared to accompany the 'pomp and circumstance,' I noticed an exceedingly larger percentage of business (especially MBA) grads were of Asian or Arab ancestry.

Perhaps that is to be expected given the increasing globalization of the marketplace. Having so many foreign students helps keep tuition for in-state residents lower than it would otherwise be but in the long run I fear we, as a nation, may find ourselves to be little more than mass market consumers of goods made in China, information technology supported from India and over-extended debtors to Saudi princes.

What a shame.

kris-kobach.jpgEMPORIA, Kan. - The California Supreme Court ruled today that it is constitutional for the State of California to offer in-state tuition to the children of illegal immigrants who have successfully attended high school and would otherwise qualify. (Here's the link.)

What's the connection to Kansas you may ask? Kris Kobach, the recently elected Kansas Secretary of State, staked his entire (only slightly less than literally) campaign on his supposed expertise as a "constitutional lawyer." Moreover, Kobach touted his involvement and support to various political organizations around the country in "fighting" against illegal immigrants in general and especially against states offering in-state tuition benefits. He's also against the proposed federal DREAM Act which would provide similar treatment.

Mr. Kobach is not a mere bystander in this case. He filed an amicus brief on behalf of the opponents of the California law.

Jerry Karr for State Senate

EMPORIA, Kan. - Let me make a personal endorsement for a friend. I've known Jerry Karr for 5 years. I've dined at his home and I've herded escaped pigs on his farm (true story). He and his wife Sharon are close friends. I've had the privilege to meet most members of his family.

In fact, I can say that you won't find a more honest, hardworking and dedicated public servant than Jerry Karr.

Perhaps nothing conveys his dedication more than his willingness to take on this 17th District senate race in the first place. A bit of background on that issue will illustrate my viewpoint.

Tea Party Losing Steam?

tea-party-mad-hatter.jpgEMPORIA, Kan. - "Liberty" group's film was poorly attended. A small group of "Patriot" activists put on a video extolling the dangers to the liberty of citizenry from the current federal government. The usual suspects were discussed, offshore, foreign entities controlling the Federal Reserve and usurping American sovereignty. In a discussion session following the video, topics ranged from the unconstitutional nature of requiring permits for Tea Party demonstrations in Emporia to the unconstitutionality of states requiring childhood vaccinations.

The promoter cited U.S. Rep. Ron Paul favorably but also suggested that the government is unduly influenced by The Council on Foreign Relations, The Trilateral Commission and the Bilderburg folks. Perhaps this is a sign of the coming redirection of the Tea Party movement (falling back into the debunked conspiracy theories of the past) or maybe it represents a fracturing of the movement.

stephene-moore.jpgEMPORIA, Kan. - I recently received notification from the State Democratic Party that Stephene Moore was holding an opening reception for her campaign headquarters. I clicked on the link and was directed to a website that contained additional information. Curious about her platform, I surfed further to her campaign's official website but couldn't find any specifics about her policies.

What I did find was a lot of discussion of Mrs. Moore's desire to incorporate Republican ideas into her approach to governing. While bipartisanship is admirable, given the current state of Republican Party obstructionism on the national level, I doubt she'll find too many Republicans who are willing to offer more than the mantra of tax cuts as a panacea to every problem, foreign and domestic.

EMPORIA, Kan. - Today brings news from China of another in a string of recent attacks on students by knife-wielding maniacs. Perhaps it is an inevitable sign of a society in transition and the lack of psychological services within China but what does that have to do with Kansas? Plenty!

Take a look at your regional state university. I don't have figures for Emporia State where my wife teaches but anybody in Emporia will tell you that the Chinese students make up a significant fraction of the student body. Almost all of these students are paying full out of state tuition rates which serves to keep the cost of in-state tuition lower for the locals.

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