Friday, October 2, 2015

Uh. Wut, Johnson County?

Johnson County is doing something really weird.

The county is hosting a free Cyber Security Conference and Expo on Oct. 6, because it's Cyber Safety Month or something.

According to a press release, this is an "annual" event. I'm kind of confused. I'm fairly tuned in to these sorts of things, and I've never heard of the annual Cyber Security Conference and Expo, and I'm baffled at how teaching "the public about staying safe in Cyberspace," as the press release suggests, is the government's job or interest. 

The expo will feature Steve Seigler, the deputy chief information officer for operations for Missouri and Gene Turner. Turner is a certified identity theft risk management specialist who "mixes in some sleight of hand tricks and comedy with his expertise." I'm tempted to go see Turner's presentation, because that sounds hilarious, in a ridiculous way.

Usually, when a government does something like this -- hosts some weird group for some strange purpose -- there's a point. Usually the point is a quiet initiative to spend more taxpayer money on something in the future. For example, a sudden health expo that focuses on exercise will morph into a "need" for more county funded trails or parks. But this cyberspace thing? I am completely lost.

What am I missing? 

Anyway, if you're so inclined the big event is 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 6 at the county administration building in Olathe. Free registration includes breakfast and lunch, so it may be worth a day just for the free food.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Backbones vs jelly spines

Good news. John Boehner is leaving Congress. 

This is kind of epic for Kansas' Congressional delegation. Shortly after Boehner announced that he will be stepping down and out, Rep. Tim Huelskamp tweeted that the establishment lost. There's no love lost between Kansas' plucky Huelskamp and the Orange One. Huelskamp was removed from committee assignments for not kissing Boehner's ring. 

Meanwhile, Rep. Lynn Jenkins is a member of House leadership. For reasons I'll never understand, she repeatedly allows herself to be photographed next to Boehner. She gave a very warm statement about how Boehner's meteoric rise from son of a bar owner to Congress is apple pie -- or some similar nonsense. (I think it unwise to even hint about booze and Boehner in the same sentence, but that's how Jenkins wished him farewell.) 

In typical Kevin Yoder fashion, he crafted a statement that said less than nothing. Yoder: Boehner is leaving. Congress still exists. Thank you for your time.

Rep. Mike Pompeo's statement was wiser, I think. He at least attempted to put a tiny bit of distance between himself the BIGGEST CRYBABY IN WASHINGTON. 

"While the Speaker and I sometimes disagreed on tactics, no one can question his commitment to making America a better place. I thank him for his service to our country, and I wish him all the best in the future.”

Honestly, the best response to the news that Boehner is leaving was probably not saying anything at all. So, way to go Yoder. Your statement was pretty close to that. Nice work.

The race for a new speaker begins now, just as Congress is AIR QUOTE "working" to avoid a government shutdown. (wink.) I can't even fathom what kind of wrench this throws into that mess, but I have a feeling Boehner's sudden move at this intense time was a little back stabby. 

I have no kind words for alcoholics, men (or women, really) who cry constantly, or people who "grow" in office. Boehner is the trifecta.

The people who will vote on Boehner's replacement are Republican members of the House. I do not think much of their collective integrity, wits, thoughtfulness, logic, loyalty, patriotism, sanity, logic, etc. I don't trust any solution that group of half wits comes up with.

They say the devil you know is better than the devil you don't. And yet, I am going to celebrate Boehner's departure, anyway. I will be watching our Kansas delegations' tea leaves. I sincerely hope our fearsome foursome votes for the most conservative, principled replacement. Jury is still out who that may be.

P.S. Sens. Moran and Roberts, please work on ridding us of that other pox on our nation, Mitch McConnell. 

P.P.S. Former Sen. Bob Dole said some stuff about it, too. My head is exploding. 

It's like Dole has something against grace and maturity. Also, he apparently thinks we, the little people, want or need his input. The hubris. Stuff a sock in it, already. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Democrat Playbook. Sigh.

Democrats have a playbook with two cards in it -- the race card and the War on Women card. Why aren't they sick of those cards? And why can't they ever, ever give others the benefit of the doubt? Seriously, who has the time to go around offended at EVERYTHING anyone says and to assume the absolute worst in every perceived look or comment?

So, the Kansas Democrat Executive Director, Kerry Gooch, took the opportunity to tweet things that offended him at the Kansas State Fair. Because you know who hangs out at the Kansas State Fair -- hillbillies! Racists! Dehumanizing cow pluggers!

One person said to him: "You speak well for a colored person." 

Tacky and tasteless, but I am almost certain the (probably ancient) person who said it was attempting to compliment Gooch. Was it politically correct? Of course not, but the other party of the conversation was making an attempt. Dear Kerry, if you want to make a difference, you sometimes have to take steps toward the other person. 

I'm not blaming you, Kerry. It took me years, YEARS, to learn this lesson, and I regularly fail at it by assuming the worst when I should give the other person the chance to do better. Educate. Don't belittle. Kerry had that opportunity and he failed at the state fair.

That poor, likely just misunderstood, fairgoer now has every excuse in the world to avoid speaking to another black person. What's the point if anything he(she?) says can be misconstrued as evil and racist. I recognize the embarrassingly wrong thing that person said, but this sounds like a person making an effort. Not someone trying to belittle or demean. Gooch's response was to belittle and embarrass and bemoan on Twitter. He said it was to educate the masses that we still have work to do. Well, Gooch was presented with an opportunity to educate one person. Instead, he chose to make that one person look bad publicly and in the process somehow cast that one person's questionable mindset on the whole of Kansas.

And then someone asked Gooch, why does Obama hate white people so much? Stupid question, of course, but not necessarily racist, anymore than someone asking why does Ben Carson hate Muslims so much. Whether it was racist depends completely on whether the statement was based on the color of Obama's skin or his policies. 

In my mind, a better question would be: Why does Obama hate blacks so much? That's not based on racism. That's based on statistics from the Census Bureau. Like this:

• The poverty rate among American blacks has increased sharply during Obama's time in office, from 12 percent in 2008 to 16.1 percent in 2014.

• Median income for American blacks dropped 10.9 percent in black households. (It only dropped 3.6 percent in white households).

• In education, blacks are falling further behind their white counterparts under Obama's leadership. The average gap in fourth-grade math scores increased by 40 points!! since Obama took office.

Kerry had the opportunity to touch individual hearts and minds at the Kansas State Fair. Instead, he opted to rub peoples' noses in it. 

It's a disappointing choice -- not just because that seems to be ALL the Democrats do -- but also, because I want Kansas and Kansans to be the best they can be. Some of those people may have benefited from a heart-to-heart with Gooch. But he chose to flash it all over Twitter and therefore Kansas newspapers, painting my beloved Live and Let Live State as a racist corner of the world. Some of Gooch's reaction was likely based on youth as much as his political affiliation. Here's hoping he's wiser next time.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Shocker. Star editorial misses the point

This is going to come as a surprise, so before you read this, please make sure you're sitting down. Here goes: The Star is suggesting in an editorial that Kansas public schools are destitute. School districts can barely keep the lights on, let alone pay staff or educate THE CHILDREN. The CHILDREN are suffering.

And Brownback is mean. Sniff. Sniff. He and his staff are lobbing "grenades" at the public school establishment. I drove by one local school building this morning, and all that remained where it once stood was a smoking hole in the ground -- such is the devastation wrought by Brownback and his war mongering staff. Just kidding. The school is still there. So is a brand new playground, and the local teachers are getting a pretty decent raise -- bigger than the one I received. (Mental note: Must work harder at pretending to be overworked and underpaid. Also, must hire a lobbyist to help make my case. Should lobby for summers off and a month at Christmas.)

Just in case you were worried about THE CHILDREN, I would like to make it clear that no weapons have actually been fired, launched or lobbed at any actual school buildings. Whew.

No, Brownback's war crime against school districts comes in the form of emails from a woman who was in college last week. "People who disagree with (Brownback's school funding) assessment stand a chance of getting blasted in a group email sent to Brownback supporters, by Melika Willoughby..." the Star bemoans.

I don't know how the Brownback team sleeps at night. Seriously I don't. They send "missives" in emails about "ever-litigating" school district attorneys. 

Oh for heaven's sakes. I've written about these spam emails before. They read like a college newspaper piece. I'm certain that bitter Star editorialists are the only people who read through the entire thing. They're too long, and honestly, too boring, despite the Star editorial board's claims that the spams are somehow weaponized.

The editorial says Brownback is also making the controversial suggestion that perhaps maybe, quite possibly, teachers should receive pay based on merit, rather than on how much they can receive by whining the loudest. I'm sorry. That's the least controversial thing in the history of the world. You know who else receives pay based on merit: ALMOST EVERY OTHER PROFESSION IN THE INDUSTRIALIZED WORLD. 

The editorial quotes some superintendent whining (shock, I know) that she has never experienced educators in Kansas "so undervalued by legislators and the governor."

I can't take it. The reverence with which the public is supposed to hold for teachers is just too much. If the governor suggests anything other than paying teachers what Chiefs players make, the Whining Whiners Who Whine complain that they're being "undervalued." Heaven forbid the market make some determination about an individual teacher's worth. They're all saints and we should bow before them. Kiss the ring. End of story. 

And then the Star rehashes an old supposed slight: getting rid of tenure. You know who else doesn't have perfect job security: ALMOST EVERY OTHER PROFESSION IN THE INDUSTRIALIZED WORLD. 

The editorial comes complete with a graph suggesting that despite additional public school funding, a smaller percentage of the funds is making its way into the classroom. You know who gets to decide what funds go where under the current block grant system? Your local school administrators and school boards. 

The Star's ire is not just ridiculous. It's misplaced. Shocker.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Eww, John Kasich

Well this is unfortunate. It appears John Kasich, Ohio Govenor and GOP Establishment Hack, has paid to be included in the Kansas Caucus on March 5.

 This is barf worthy. This probably means Kasich isn't going to drop out any time soon. His campaign paid $15,000 to be included in the caucus -- the first GOP campaign to do so. The Kansas Caucus is still almost six months away.

It's going to be hard to listen to the garbage that comes out of that stupid guy's face for another five-plus months. But it appears there's no way around it.


Don't KS Dems have something better to do?

GOP Presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson is going to be in Kansas today for a small fundraiser, which is of course, driving the Kansas Democrats into a frenzy of stupid.

They've issued a press release blasting Carson for opposing a federal minimum wage increase and Medicaid expansion.

"Kansas doesn't need any more extremism," the Kansas Dem statement reads.

It's a pretty paltry attempt to tarnish a decent man, which I note, so far, no one has found a single bad thing to say about him. 

Some have said he's soft on the Second Amendment, but otherwise, by most all accounts, he's a decent, honorable man. Surely the Kansas Democrats have better things to do -- like cleaning up their own mess -- rather than blasting a good man for having the audacity to visit the Sunflower State.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Canfield dislikes God, err, Bibles, and Kobach

To the people who booed God, I'm sure someone carrying a Bible or talking about what's inside its pages at work is just short of a high crime. (Democrats are the party that booed God, after all.)

Now they've taken their show on the road. This time, it's one Courtney Canfield, who is suing the Kansas Secretary of State's Office because there are Christians who work there. And sometimes, they talk about being Christians, and other times, the Christians in the office pray and have Bible study. (Also, she was canned. She says it's for not attending Bible study, but it appears lots of people who didn't attend the Bible study continue to be employed in the office.)

Last Friday, the Secretary of State's office admitted that Bible studies did in fact take place there. Staff members were not required to attend or take part. 

In a sane world, that would be enough. But that's not the world we live in. We live in the world of the perpetually offended Whining Whiners Who Whine™ and they would like to see all Bibles burned and practicing Christians put into re-education camps.

Americans for Separation of Church and State is not impressed. Vickie Stangle, president of the local chapter, told an Associated Press reporter that Bible studies in the workplace cross the line.

"I look at these places as places we are conducting business, and they are not supposed to be houses of worship, and yet it seems to be happening more and more under the guise of so-called religious freedom," she said.

I have to wonder if she would be half as upset if the Secretary of State's Office offered to take a few bucks a month out of its staff paychecks to give to the United Way in exchange for allowing blue jean Friday. Would that be just as offensive or coercive? (Wait. I know this one. Answer, yes, but no one cares because the United Way gives money to Planned Parentood, so it's totally fine.) Or what if office staff organized a golf outing? Is that a lawsuit waiting to happen since I don't golf? (And the one time I did, I was a real embarrassment.)

Stangle said the practice of being Christian in public creates the perception that government is promoting and endorsing religion and that employees feel peer pressure to participate even if they are not required. To which I say, if state employees haven't grown up enough to not be peer pressured, that's their problem. 

I have felt subtle peer pressure to give to United Way. Fridays are awkward when everyone else is in jeans and I'm dressed like a professional. And when someone asks me why I don't give to United Way, I simply tell them. No harm. No foul. 

But let's be honest about this Canfield lawsuit. It's one of three things: Bitterness about being fired, or just another attempt to embarrass the Secretary of State's office, or a combination of the two.

As I wrote previously, I can't imagine Canfield winning anything but 15 minutes of fame with this lawsuit.