Front Page » Table of Contents » Archive: Politics: October 2009

GREAT BEND, Kan. - The only reason a state legislator would do an outlandish YouTube rap video is because he wants attention. And the only reason a sitting Congressman would shout "You Lie!" to a sitting U.S. President is because he wants attention.

And they want attention from people who can help them stay in office: their base. And nothing fires up the base more than the hated opposition lecturing the person. I suspect that Rep. Bill Otto, upon hearing that his redneck rap video was being publicly criticized by prominent Democrats thought to himself: "They took the bait. Fantastic."

And once Rep. Joe Wilson apologized to Rahm Immanuel for his "You Lie!" outburst, he saw nothing but upside from the incident among his base, especially after the opposition wanted to censure him.

Famed Republican consultant Lee Atwater famously said: "Never interfere with your opponent when he is in the process of self-destruction." Perhaps Democrats should consider letting the actions of oafs speak for themselves. Because once the opposition starts "moralizing" , the offender gets lionized by his base, with lots of private "attaboy's" at the barber shop, and lots of fresh campaign cash rolling in.

GREAT BEND, Kan. - Political races are the only contests I can think of with no referee to punish bad behavior. In basketball, if an opponent trips you on your way to a game winning layup, you get foul shots. In jury trials, if an opponent introduces inadmissible or misleading evidence to a jury, a judge can grant a mistrial. In baseball, a pitcher throwing spitballs is ejected, often banned for months.

But political elections in Kansas are unique. There are no refs, and there are no Kansas statutes criminalizing lying in political campaigns. In a close race, a candidate's conscience is his only guide, as Jimmeny Cricket would say. And conscience alone doesn't stop candidates like Sam Brownback from a "win first, apologize later" mode of operation.

One lawyer who requested a mistrial based on prejudicial evidence told the judge: "You can't throw a skunk into the jury box and expect the jury not to smell it." And Sam Brownback knows better than most that you can throw a skunk into a ballot box at the last minute with no possibility of punishment or a do-over. It's winner take all.

TOPEKA, Kan. - We're on the verge of something historic - both the House and the Senate are closer than ever to passing meaningful health insurance reform. Yet, this fight is far from over, and, in Kansas, special interest groups and far-right legislators are already gearing up to derail the process on a state level:

...some of our leaders in the State Legislature are already on top of it. Sen. Mary Pilcher Cook and Reps. Brenda Landwehr and Peggy Mast will hold a series of press conferences Tuesday to announce their sponsorship of bills to exempt Kansas from any federal health reform legislation.

Whoa -- hold your horses. Kansas Republicans are already ready to block "any federal health reform legislation" before we even know what the final legislation will be. So, in response, we've launched -- an online petition to pledge your support for real reform in Kansas.

WASHINGTON - Politico has a story today about the Kansas Congressman with real C Street "Fellowship" credibility, Jerry Moran. We've previously reported the indelible ties of Sam Brownback and Todd Tiahrt to the C Street "Fellowship" (here, here, and here). But, according to Politico, the Kansas Congressman that has really benefited from his close association with C Street is Jerry Moran.

Moran, who, along with KS-04 Congressman Todd Tiahrt, is engaged in the race to succeed Sam Brownback in the United States Senate, has received many more notable endorsements in his bid for the Senate seat, especially from sitting United States Senators.

What Do You Read?

DODGE CITY, Kan. - Did you ever wonder what shapes people's opinions about their country, their politics, or their world? I suspect that, for most of us, the answer is, "It's what we watch, listen to, and read." For others, it may be simply whatever their parents, family, or friends believe. For those with the latter choice, one probably can't do much to change their outlook. For the others, it might be interesting just to ask people you meet, "What do you watch, listen to, and read?" I'd be interested in what is read, watched, etc. by the folks who read Kansas Free Press.

For openers, I'll tell you some of my choices. On TV, I watch MSNBC, you know: Countdown, Rachel Maddow, etc. Of course they "lean left" (only I call it "practice progressive thinking"), but I get so fed up with the so-called liberal media, which it is NOT. I listen to NPR with All Things Considered to get the real news and I like to watch The News Hour with Jim Lehrer on Public TV.

WICHITA, Kan. - Democratic Missouri Governor Jay Nixon evidently thought he was being cute this week when he mocked the intelligence of Kansans. jaynixonAs reported by the Wichita Eagle's Editorial Board Blog, WE Blog:

"...Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has poked fun at the intelligence of Kansans. When asked this week whether an expansion of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Dental School could end up training dentists for Kansas, Nixon dismissed the notion that some graduates might want to practice in Kansas. "But it's so obvious when you cross the state line," Nixon said as the 100 or so in the audience laughed and applauded, the Kansas City Star reported. "People just start talking slower."

TOPEKA, Kan. - This week, in a stunning act of irony, Kansas Republican Party Chairwoman Amanda Adkins attacked Rep. Dennis Moore for his support of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Never mind that the act has created over 1 million jobs, and Kansas' jobless rate actually declined again last month.

How is this ironic? (I mean, more than usual...)

Well, Amanda Adkins is a top executive at the Cerner Corporation, a company that has advocated for and stands to gain from the very same Recovery Act. In fact, the company itself states on it's website:

...we recognize that our success is rooted in the value of automating the healthcare process, and we are pleased to see that the Obama Administration and Congress understands an investment in healthcare information technology (HIT) benefits the entire U.S. economy.

Smells a little like hypocrisy, eh?

MANHATTAN, Kan. - What is the matter with Kansas? Ever since William Allen White posed the question in 1896, many people have tried to answer it. More recently Thomas Frank took on the question in his 2004 book in which he answered the question by saying that the state's political discourse had dramatically shifted from the class animus of traditional leftist thought which once was the hallmark of the state to one in which hot button cultural issues, such as abortion and gay marriage, are used to redirect anger towards electing individuals who work against Kansans' own best interests.

Now two directors from Chicago, Joe Winston and Laura Coen, have taken on the question and tried to answer it through the lens of a camera.

Who Will Be Our Next Governor?

COLBY, Kan. - It appears that Sam Brownback will most likely be a contender in the race to be the Republican candidate for Governor of Kansas.

I recall him declaring in a previous election year that the most important issue we faced as a nation was same sex marriage. He indicated that if we did not successfully make such marriages illegal, our nation would invoke the judgment of God and cease to exist.

This was at a time that the war in Iraq was failing miserably. Maybe our Topeka Baptist preacher was right. It must have been the homosexuals fault! Our national debt was rising at an alarming rate! I'm not sure what gay marriage had to do with that.

BASEHOR, Kan. - I think it's time to take the gloves off and push Progressives (and maybe even the Kansas Democratic Party) to begin talking about the "C" word--Class.

To get a good, quick rundown of the issue, take a look at an old interview with Thomas Frank, author of "What's the Matter with Kansas?" In the interview, Frank says that the Democratic party has abandoned one of its principle tenets--and the very one that sets itself so much apart from Republican hucksters. And that's the issue of class.

WICHITA, Kan. - Late yesterday, news broke that former KS-04 Congressman ('76-'94) and Clinton USDA Secretary Dan Glickman was not renewing his lucrative contract with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). Glickman, whose contract expires in September 2010, said...

"I'm going to be 65 next month, and it just struck me this is a good time to really move on back into the world of either academia, public service or nonprofits."

We've been pondering a possible run by Glickman for either Kansas Governor, since KDP Chairman Larry Gates bowed out last Friday, or the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Sam Brownback, who is leaving the post in 2010 to seek the office of the Kansas Governor.

WICHITA, Kan. - Featured on the DailyKos today is a KS-04 Roundup of all the challengers for the Congressional seat, and the rather amazing fundraising feat performed by Kansas State Representative Raj Goyle in his bid for the KS-04 Congressional seat.

Important to note: Goyle out-raised four-out-of-the-five Republican challengers--combined--for the KS-04 seat, amounting to nearly $3,500 per day in fundraising. The next closest challenger in the fundraising race was Wichita oilman and Wichita Wild arena football league owner, Wink Hartman, who, for the two weeks he was in the KS-04 race in the last quarter, raised just over $1,000 per day.

WICHITA, Kan. - In a week where Raj Goyle hit a campaign fundraising record that no other challenger to KS-04 has ever reached, it appears the Republican challengers to that seat performed rather... well... boringly.

Here's the run down...

KANSAS CITY, Kan. - This just in. Larry Gates, Chair of the Kansas Democratic Party, has formally announced that he does not intend to run for governor in 2010. In his memo to party members, Chairman Gates wrote, in part,

For many months, Jeanne and I have considered undertaking a campaign for governor in 2010. Many of you have encouraged me and offered your support, for which I am humbled and grateful. ... Although the press reports Democrats are not prepared for 2010, the truth is far from it. ... There are tremendously qualified candidates who are considering this race and allowed me the opportunity to fully consider my own candidacy. From among those individuals a great nominee will emerge to challenge the Washington insider whose campaign advisors would have you believe this race is over.

LEROY, Kan. - In what might be described as the lovechild of Dr. Dre and Minnie Pearl, Bill Otto, a Republican state representative from LeRoy, Kansas has made the national spotlight with his latest "rap" on the shortcomings of President Obama and his policies.

There have been plenty of politicians who've tried to embrace this musical genre, but what makes PossumOtter (that's my new nickname for him) so special and has drawn the ire of millions is that he posted his rythmically challenged ode on YouTube while wearing a ballcap that claims "Opossum, the other dark meat."

Deepen the Bench with Democratic Idol

TOPEKA, Kan. - Since 2006, Republicans have been coming out of the closet and professing their new faith in the Kansas Democratic Party. Call them turncoats, re-born democrats or opportunists -- they all made a decision to join the minority party in Kansas. They are welcome in the KDP and part of an unusual transition in power.

Maybe even more unusual is that a nightly prayer ends like this, "Dear God, please convince Mark Parkinson to run for Governor."

Think about why that is unusual. The former Kansas Republican Party Chairman is now in the clean up spot for the Kansas democrats, and arguably, the ideal candidate on the democratic gubernatorial ticket.

Remember the press when Parkinson became Governor? Not a very high percentage of the general public knew who Mark Parkinson was. What is the solution for the Kansas Democratic Party?

A Democrat Neophyte

LARNED, Kan. - Politically, last year was a watershed year for me. I moved from conservative Republican to Obamican to full fledged Democrat, all in the space of four months. Actually, it took much longer. Allow me to explain. I had been a staunch conservative for approximately thirty years! Or at least I thought I was. Oh yeah, I should mention that I am an African-American male who used to love listening to Rush Limbaugh, even though much of what he said insulted my racial sensitivities? Yes, I was one of the few black "ditto heads." Talk about an identity crisis!

Sam Brownback. Really. Scary.

BASEHOR, Kan. - Sam Brownback is a member of a curious religious group with a twisted view of morality. The founder (and father of the group's current leader) says that members should be forgiven for crimes, even for crimes like rape, because members are really above the law since they're among the "chosen."

Really, Sam Brownback? Really???

LAWRENCE, Kan.- Does the name Jamie Leigh Jones ring a bell? If not, don't worry. I didn't know who she was either until I heard about the bill Sam Brownback voted against that was introduced in her name.

Her story is just as important as it is tragic. Here are the basics, taken from Think Progress:

"In 2005, Jamie Leigh Jones was gang-raped by her co-workers while she was working for Halliburton/KBR in Baghdad. She was detained in a shipping container for at least 24 hours without food, water, or a bed, and "warned her that if she left Iraq for medical treatment, she'd be out of a job." (Jones was not an isolated case.) Jones was prevented from bringing charges in court against KBR because her employment contract stipulated that sexual assault allegations would only be heard in private arbitration."

MANHATTAN, Kan. - The National Equality March organized by Equality Across America drew an estimated 200,000 marchers to Washington, DC, on Sunday October 11th. Included in the sea of marchers were 13 marchers from Manhattan - 11 students from Kansas State University's LGBTQ & More organization and two from the Flint Hills Human Rights Project.

This was my third march for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equality. At the height of the AIDS crisis, I had returned to the US in 1987 from my then home in Italy to be part of a very angry march as the LGBT community dealt with President Reagan who refused to respond to the growing AIDS crisis or even speak of it in public. By the time the NAMES Project Memorial Quilt was unfolded on the Mall at that march, I had made eight panels, including one for my former partner.

WICHITA, Kan. - Federal Election Commission disclosures are starting to roll in for the fundraising quarter that ended September 30, and State Representative and Democratic candidate for Congress in KS-04 Raj Goyle secured himself a role among the titans of prolific Kansas Democratic fundraisers.

From the Goyle campaign...

TOPEKA, Kan. - In politics, it is often said that timing is everything. That may be partially true, but it doesn't hurt to have a supremely qualified, hard working and well respected candidate to boot.

Especially when you are talking about someone with broad-based, in-depth legislative experience regarding health care and taxation while understanding how the Federal government has often failed State governments as of late by not shouldering its fair share of the fiscal burden.

It made my day Friday when I heard Senator Laura Kelly had announced her run for the Second District Congressional seat, which couldn't have come at a better time when you look at the challenges facing our state and nation.

PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. - Research turned up insight into a family background steeped in science on candidate for U.S. Senate Charles D. Schollenberger a Democrat from Kansas.

Shawn Cleveland first reported on this story in this year's spring publication from The Ohio State University College of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Sciences.

Schollenberger when asked was kind enough to allow Kansas Free Press to share this unique story.

Grandson and son, Charles D. Schollenberger, continue a commitment to honor the work of agronomist Charles J. Schollenberger and chemist Charles S. Schollenberger with a gift to create the Charles Schollenberger Arboretum Visitors Center Biological Lab Endowment.

GREAT BEND, Kan. - At the 1976 Republican National Convention in Kansas City, Republican Governor Robert Bennett called Kansas "the most Republican state in the Union." And he may have been right. But those days are over.

The book How Barack Obama Won, by Chuck Todd and Sheldon Gawiser, shows that Kansas is far from being the reddest of the red states. But the important thing is the direction Kansas is heading. And it's heading toward a more moderate, Democratic path.

Although the authors point out that Kansas is the #2 state in self-identified Republicans at 49% (only Wyoming at 52% is higher), Kansas strangely doesn't even rank in the top fourteen states in self-identified "conservatives."

Obama's Prize

DODGE CITY, Kan. - Yesterday I attended a luncheon of a local civic group. At our table were seated six women, four of whom were certified, blue-blood Republicans and the other two were another wise Democrat and me.

An R asked who had heard the shocking news that Obama had won the Nobel Peace Prize. Of course, all of us had. Four of the group were properly stunned and sure that this must have been some kind of political trickery. One asked if any of us knew how winners were selected and by whom. I suggested that perhaps the selection happened because of all his potential for what he might do for the world with our new outlook.

They remembered suddenly that I was - Oh, Horrors! A Democrat! So, now they reminded each other, that this Democrat had been a "good" Democrat and that they had all voted for me when I was in the Kansas House. Thank goodness, I wasn't like all those OTHER Democrats. I responded that I was very proud of being a member of the Democratic Party, the Party of the People. So the subject was changed.

Signs Of Democratic Life In Kansas

HAYS, Kan. - Throughout my career teaching college students I have encountered a recurring sentiment, often from the most earnest undergraduates. "I wish I could just study, go to class, and write what I really think, without everything being so competitive." The implication is that the way achievement is recognized in higher education is undermining the learning experience for the student.

Journalists often voice a similar regret - or excuse, depending upon your point of view - about how they would much rather be finding and reporting different kinds of stories, but the nature of the business requires them to operate according to standards the journalists themselves claim to resent. Perhaps the commercial realities of circulation, ratings, and advertising revenue are undermining journalistic freedom to pursue stories from a different perspective, shaped by a larger purpose. I don't know because I have never had to make a living within those realities.

WASHINGTON - President Obama was awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize this morning for his "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples."

Tim Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, issued this statement, "The Nobel Committee's decision to award this year's Peace Prize to President Obama is an affirmation of the fact that the United States has returned to its longstanding role as a world leader. The President has made a conscious decision from the beginning of his presidency to reinvigorate diplomacy, by talking to our friends and our rivals. Those efforts to bring world leaders together are helping the people of the world to face monumental challenges like nuclear arms proliferation, conflict resolution and climate change. With this prize comes a sense of enormous pride, but also an enormous sense of humility about the work that remains if we are to resolve the global problems facing humanity."

Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican National Committee, rebuked the respected institution for awarding the prize to the president.

TOPEKA, Kan. - The 2nd U.S. Congressional District has been anything but stable. In 2006, Nancy Boyda (D) defeated incumbent Rep. Jim Ryun (R). After just two years in Washington, Lynn Jenkins (R) defeated Boyda in 2008.

The district has been in the news in recent months. Jenkins has seemed to take a number of missteps (here, here and here). The Kansas Democratic Party is even tracking Jenkins at a special site,

Now, we hear that Jenkins has a challenger in the 2010 election. State Sen. Laura Kelly (D) has announced that she wants to reclaim that congressional seat for the Democratic Party.

TOPEKA, Kan. - Long-time Kansas resident Charles Schollenberger, 57, of Prairie Village has been for months visiting state residents sharing his vision of what he feels a Kansas state senator should be representing. After forming an exploratory committee back in June, today Schollenberger made his official announcement. He will in fact seek the senate seat being evacuated by Sam Brownback.

Schollenberger attended the annual Democratic fall meeting held last weekend in Wichita. After meeting with several key Democratic voters and receiving good feedback, Schollenberger wasted no time in making his announcement.

"We pledge our best efforts to wage an effective campaign to break the strangle-hold that conservative Republicans have had over our two U.S Senate seats for the last 70 years. I invite you to join me in this crusade for change." Schollenberger said.

Schollenberger delivered his speech under rain filled skies this morning across the street from Brown V. Board of Education National Historic Site in Topeka.

WASHINGTON - Alliance for Justice's new documentary film - Tortured Law? - is now available to activists in local communities and campus leaders of law schools, colleges, university campuses and interested political groups. Groups are free to use this film as a centerpiece for discussions, forums, debates and other educational events. For the asking, AFJ will send a free copy of the documentary to interested groups. I'm excited to tell you about it and hope to encourage local Kansas groups to get involved with its screening. Nan Aron, president of Alliance for Justice, poses these questions,

The legal architecture for torture was originally outlined and sanctioned in 2002 by a series of memos drafted by lawyers in the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel. Were these lawyers simply giving the President their best legal advice? Or was their work part of a larger criminal conspiracy to distort the law and authorize torture?

The film is a tool in an ongoing campaign calling on Attorney General Holder to release the OPR report and authorize a full investigation of those who ordered, designed, and justified torture.

LAWRENCE, Kan. - I consider myself fairly well immersed in the political world. I read the news constantly, regularly read blogs for up to date opinions and inside information, and am relatively comfortable when it comes to the subject of political history. Because of all of this it is not often that I am legitimately shocked by an occurrence in modern day politics.

Today, however, I was completely floored.

It would seem that in the fight against sexual violence, Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas is on the side of... sexual violence?

A Brown Blizzard from the Far Right

BOGUE, Kan. - People who offer political opinions in print (me) get mail storms. Until it gets to "you already sent that," I like seeing what's up coming down.

I get a skift from the left. The blizzard, however, comes in bullying brown drifts from what I call the poopflake right. The intent - no matter the circumstance, no matter how inaccurate - is to bury the Obama administration. A recent flurry:

A Californian who loves FAUX-Snooze wrote, "All the doctors I talk to say they're gonna leave the country if there's a public option." The truth: 73 percent of M.D.'s nationwide want a public option or a single payer system.

The Californian's ditto-head fourteen-year-old sent a link to a story intended to prove that the Massachusetts example is a government takeover of health care which would bankrupt the country, as it nearly has that state. But Massachusetts does not have a public option, certainly no single-payer system.

Raj Goyle's Photographic Memory

GREAT BEND, Kan. - The first time I met Raj Goyle we were both Democratic hopefuls for the Kansas House of Representatives, attending a strategy meeting in Topeka in 2006. Both of us were running in tough Republican Districts, me in the 112th, him in the 87th against longtime Republican incumbent Bonnie Huy.

"Marty Keenan," I said, extending my hand in friendship. "Raj Goyle," he said. "I met your in-laws recently," he said, as my jaw dropped. "Harry and Carol Castelli." Raj had met my very Republican in-laws going door-to-door, and it was obvious he talked to them at length.

I figured this was just a lucky coincidence. I decided to throw him a bone and tell him about another of his potential constituents I knew: "Do you remember John Holt, the broadcaster? His parents live in your district..."

TOPEKA, Kan. - Kansas Republicans just received a surprising criticism from one of their own.

As picked up last night on Huffington Post, former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-KS) told a group of local Kansas journalists yesterday that the GOP needed to get on board and stop fighting health insurance reform. His most stunning observation was reported by the KC Star:

"Sometimes people fight you just to fight you," he said. "They don't want Reagan to get it, they don't want Obama to get it, so we've got to kill it...Health care is one of those things...Now we've got to do something."

Today, Bob Dole will be releasing a statement with former Sens. Tom Daschle, Howard Baker, and George Mitchell along the same lines calling on Congress to enact health insurance reform.

More below the fold...

Why Brownback Is Not a Shoo-in

GREAT BEND, Kan. - The key question about Sam Brownback's Republican candidacy for Governor is not "Why aren't any Democrats running?," but "Why aren't more Democrats running?" During my lifetime, Kansas has had more years of Democratic governors than Republican governors.

The prevalence of Democratic governors in Kansas is an oddity, but easily explainable:
Kansans love divided government. They don't trust one political party to control the Governor's mansion, and both legislative bodies at the same time.

But what about Bill Graves? Yes, this moderate, pro-education Republican served for 8 years with a Republican house and a Republican senate. But Sam Brownback is a different kettle of fish.

TOPEKA, Kan. - Last week, SurveyUSA released the results of their monthly approval rating poll in Kansas showing a staggering six percent drop in approval for Senator Sam Brownback. Brownback, who is running for Governor of Kansas, now finds himself under the so-called "safe" 50% threshold for election.

Brownback's 48% approval is nearing his all time low achieved when he left Kansas to pursue his ambition of becoming President. Worst yet for him, he's bleeding moderates. One in ten abandoned Brownback in September. Many have said this race is already over, but this is clear evidence it is only the beginning.

Kansas Democrats have an incredible opportunity to both retain the Governor's office and provide a clear, stable alternative to Senator Brownback's brand of extremism.

BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. - A Missouri billboard is enlightening, but maybe not in the intended way. It says more about the state of our citizenry and the state of general knowledge (or lack thereof) than it does about Obama.

A red and yellow billboard posted along I-70 near Blue Springs is gaining attention from the local media. Watching the following video made many points, some that I would assume that the person that paid for the billboard did not intend. Check it out and then read on:

KANSAS CITY, Kan. - I love Business Week magazine. I read it dutifully every week, and have done so for years. It has, in my estimation, the best balance of Capitalism and Corporate Responsibility. Unlike so many other business mags, BW has always looked at all sides of issues, not just the side that will generate the most money.

In the October 12 issue, an article entitled "Why Business Fears the Public Option,"the magazine lays out a few points about the issue of "Cost Shifting," one of the attacks that the insurance industry has mounted.

HAYS, Kan. - Psssst, we're surrounded.

I am talking to residents of Central Kansas. We're surrounded by radio stations and
talk show hosts that, in my opinion, generate too much heat and too little light when addressing matters of general public concern.

OTTAWA, Kan. - On Saturday, September 26, the Franklin County Democratic Party held a food drive in Ottawa. Country Mart, a local grocery store, was generous enough to allow the county party set up outside their doors. A group of dedicated local Democrats stood outside for six hours and collected an amazing amount of food, tolietries, and other household essentials. The drive benefited two Ottawa pantries, Hope House and ECKAN.

The community of Franklin County and Ottawa answered the call of help to those less fortunate. In such difficult economic times the volunteers received several large, generous donations. Through this food drive, the citizens of Ottawa displayed an amazing showing of giving and compassion to our fellow community members who need the donations.

PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. - Prairie Village resident Charles Schollenberger has announced the formation of an exploratory committee for a possible U.S. Senate run. The committee plans to meet through the end of 2009 to determine if sufficient support exists for a candidacy.

Schollenberger believes "Kansans deserve better representation. Republicans have tied up [those] seats for over 70 years." From a "fair play standpoint, the other party ought to have a chance."

Schollenberger hails from Hudson, Ohio has been a resident of metropolitan Kansas City for 27 years. He grew up in northeast Ohio where he was a strong advocate for passage of the 26th amendment in 1971, which lowered the legal voting age to 18.

TOPEKA, Kan. - For the past two years the Kansas legislature has devoted major energy trying to undo a decision made by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment's Director, Roderick Bremby, which prevented Sunflower Electric from moving ahead with the construction of two coal-fire power plants slated for construction in the southwest Kansas community of Holcomb.

Following the departure of Gov. Kathleen Sebeilus, Gov. Parkinson in private negotiations with Sunflower Electric Cooperative gave them what they wanted and put the health of Kansans at risk by having the legislature pass legislation that prevents KDHE from doing its job in the future.

GREAT BEND, Kan. - Statistically, speaking the 112th District House of Representatives seat is the third safest Republican seat in the entire Kansas House of Representatives. In fact, this western Barton County seat hasn't been filled by a Democrat in over 60 years.

So why did I run 3 times as a Democrat for this seat in 2004, 2006 and 2008? I guess I'm a dreamer at heart, a Don Quixote who wants to believe that good things happen to good people who keep trying. Averaging 47.6% of the vote is nothing to be embarrassed about, but it still makes you wonder why politics isn't more fair.

But at a recent Royals game, I saw two things that started to make things a little more clear. One said: "Play for the name on the front of your jersey, not the name on the back." How true. Each time I ran for state tepresentative, I was a member of a team, the name on the front of my jersey "Democrat" is what really counts. The name on the back of the jersey "Marty Keenan" is secondary. And all three times I finished over twenty five points ahead of the meager 21% Democratic registration in my district. So I represented the team well.

WASHINGTON - "I want you to protect the Constitution," expressed a sign carried by a young woman protester at the September 12th Washington D.C. Tea Party. Where was that woman in October 2001, when the USA Patriot Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush? That's when she should have expressed her concern about protecting the Constitution.

Almost eight years later, as the Senate Judiciary Committee met Sept. 23, 2009, to consider reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act, Sen. Al Franken (D.-Minn.) read the 4th Amendment to the Constitution in the presence of a Justice Department lawyer who was arguing in favor of reauthorization of the Act.

Campaigning Ideas

OSKALOOSA, Kan. - I want to run through some of the stuff that I have refreshed my mind about when it comes to campaigning for a local office. When it comes to city elections, I have found that one of the biggest things you can do is advertise your campaign in the local newspaper outlet.

Running for City Council in Oskaloosa, Kansas, I found that the folks that will more then likely vote in an off year election will be the ones that read the local paper. I don't know how many people that saw the ads that I ran, and stopped me on the street to ask questions about my campaign. They seem to be quite the conversation starter.

SALINA, Kan. - At this time, it is estimated that as many as 5 million families already have lost their homes or still face the prospect of losing their homes in just the coming few months. Ever since the financial industry crisis began in mid-2007, even some of the news outlets that I have respected just spit out these words like parrots, "lenders are in a crisis."

A "crisis for lenders" they say. Then, we had the massive bailouts to lenders in late 2008 under Bush and in early 2009 under Obama. Lenders in crisis? It seems like "the media" has always implied, "the good lenders bent the rules a little bit, with all their generosity and compassion, to lend money to certain people who now are refusing to make good on the loans, now thrusting these good lenders into crisis." Why a crisis for lenders? Is that really true?

I submit to you that there's no real harm to lenders, except a little bit of reduction of their extremely high profits of recent years. The only devastation here is the slow and persistent robbing of the middle class to make the ultra richer even wealthier. Please let me explain.

WASHINGTON - Number crunchers are having a political heyday over health-care reform. Yet, one in particular, is having a field day in shaping the debate. A consulting firm known as the Lewin Group, aka United Health, whose research is making the rounds by opponents of the hotly debated public insurance option.

Respectively stated, by Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee, Lewin Group is an "independent research firm." Rep. Eric Cantor of Va., House Republican whip, says it is "the nonpartisan Lewin Group."

Also, Sen. Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, the second-ranking Republican on the key Finance Committee, refers to Lewin Group as "well known as one of the most nonpartisan groups in the country."

What these prominent members of the Republican Party fail to mention is that the Lewin Group is owned entirely by United Health Group, one of this countries mega health insurance providers.

WICHITA, Kan. - Dick Kelsey spent some more of his own hard earned dollars to showcase some of his top brass supporters for his bid for Congress in KS-04. Last week, Kelsey posted this radio spot featuring Kansas GOP Presidential caucus winner Gov. Mike Huckabee in a strong endorsement.

(Script of Huckabee Spot after the jump.)

Letter to Jerry Moran

Throughout the health care debate, I have stressed that more Americans will gain access ... once costs are controlled and reduced. I continue to advocate for... medical liability reform, an increased emphasis on wellness and disease prevention, providing tax incentives to low-income families to retain or purchase private health insurance, implementation of health information technology, and training more medical professionals and encouraging them to practice in underserved areas. I also support finding responsible ways to address the problems caused by pre-existing conditions and to increase the size of the pool of insured. - U.S. Representative Jerry Moran (R-Kansas)
Dear Representative Moran:

In your special edition of "This Week in Congress" you listed several ways that you believe will fix health care.

TOPEKA, Kan. - Representative Lynn Jenkins had, for lack of a better term, a rough August. She finally came back to Kansas to hold town hall meetings (which she failed to personally appear at months earlier). Lynn Jenkins, based on her robo calls, was expecting a largely supportive crowd for her stance as being a member of the party of "no." What Rep. Jenkins discovered was that she could not get away with failures in judgment back home, such as her "Great White Hope" comment. Even more telling of Lynn Jenkins' failure in representing the Second District was her incident in Ottawa where she laughed at an uninsured mother and her son. With such an atrocious trip back home in August, you would expect Rep. Jenkins to be ready to get back to work and actually serve her constituents in some attempt to save face. Unfortunately, this week Representative Jenkins continued her pattern of failure. This Wednesday Rep. Lynn Jenkins released this Tweet:

Meeting with Kansas Bankers this morning and speaking on the floor this afternoon. 10:37 AM Sep 15th from Facebook

TOPEKA, Kan. - Having had very intelligent conversations with many who identify themselves as Republicans, with any luck common sense will prevail when ballots offer an alternative to Lynn Jenkins in 2010.

Many people in recent years have come to realize that the GOP has abandoned its stance on limited government. After all, under the Republican controlled White House, Senate, and House, government expanded.

Conventional wisdom that says Democrats are most likely to break the piggy bank was thrown out after the Carter Administration. Still, many fear an increased Democratic majority in Congress topped by a Democratic president. Yet, the proof is in the pudding, Democrats spend less than the party who decries no spending.

SALINA, Kan. - Among the ancient Greeks, the dictator was known as the tyrant. His one-man rule was called a tyranny. He ruled with absolute and uncontrolled power. This form of government frequently occurred in the Greek city-states in times of public distress or national danger.

Many of the empires of the East and West were tyrannies, or depotisms. The emperor, king, or potentate was authoritarian in character. This means that he took upon himself the right to rule; his authority was not a grant of powers from the people.

Dictatorships of our own times have much in common with the tyrannies of the ancient world.

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