Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Holy pathetic bias, Batman. Also, the County hates you

To hear the Kansas City Star tell it, the people of Johnson County are just pining for a massive tax increase. This story, about citizens just begging for a whopping 14 percent tax increase, is absolute garbage. 

And the bias -- in a news story!! -- is so obvious it's as if the Star isn't even pretending to be impartial any more. I know I shouldn't be shocked, and yet, truly, I am.

The Johnson County Board of Commissioners hosted a public hearing on its proposed 2016 budget. Honestly, we should all be ashamed. This county is undeniably blessed. The average value of our inexpensive homes (when compared to the rest of the country) is up by 7 percent on average. Without a rate increase, the county bounty would increase by 7 percent in 2016. That's WELL over the average annual CPI or consumer price index. It peaked in the Kansas City area at 4.4 percent back in 2011. 

But a 7 percent increase isn't enough for the greedy bastards that sit on our BOCC. They demand more. Paying off well-connected friends is expensive. (Ahem. King Louie.) Pardon the language. I am just beside myself.

Leaving well enough alone, or using the existing property tax rate, Johnson Countians would still be paying more in taxes next year. But as an insult, the commission has proposed a budget that actually increases the rate in addition to the increases built in by increasing property values. The county's proposed rate increase is DOUBLE the average raises employers say they intend to give to employees. The average worker is barely keeping ahead of inflation, but you know who's way, way, way ahead of inflation without increasing tax rates? Johnson County Government.

I am disappointed that more conservatives did not attend the budget hearing. I am disgusted to the point of punching something that a reporter attended the meeting and actually BELIEVED that all of those clamoring for a tax increase were real, informed people sincerely concerned about loss of county services and not just Friends of Ed attending and speaking as a personal favor. 

Somehow, we're expected to believe the citizens of this county, which judging from the 2014 election is more conservative than it's been in years, are now desperate to abscond more money for things like the JO. Truly, for what we spend on the (almost ALWAYS vacant) JO, we could probably buy the bus system's regular riders used cars for less money.

And don't get me started on the library. I haven't set foot in a public library in probably a decade. It's not that I don't like to read. I'm an avid reader. Me like books. A lot. But between the wide availability of the Internet and school districts throwing Ipads at everything that moves, there's just not much need to fund a bunch of buildings and over-educated staff. No offense to Librarians. But it's hard for me to understand why everyone who works in a library must have a master's degree to help people search the Internet and use the Dewey decimal system. I learned the Dewey in grade school, and most preschoolers can probably out search engine me. And let's not pretend that the library is providing valuable Internet access to underserved areas. It's not like JC is putting its libraries in trailer parks. The county library system seems well-suited to serve the upperest middle class parts of the county. 

And for the love of Pete, the parks system! Those boneheads on the parks board are driving up the cost of land all around the county. The parks system owns large swaths of undeveloped land, making land more expensive, driving up the value of property, which in turn means more tax dollars. It's quite the racket the parks board is running. Meanwhile, EVERYONE is in the parks game. City taxes go to parks. School taxes are used for recreational facilities and events. If you're goofy enough to live in a place with a home owner's association, your fees likely also pay for parks. Someone please tell me when we will be adequately funding parks. By the way, I can count on one hand the number of times I went to a county/city park last year. I have a swing set and a gym membership.

My unrelenting disappointment in the county commission is, well, I'm having trouble finding words. The county hates its citizens. The county staff wishes to steal from us at the threat of jail to line their own pockets, and our elected officials are complicit in it. 

If Johnson County, Kansas, is too broke to continue without raising property taxes above and beyond CPI and anticipated employer raises, how on earth are other counties surviving? At some point, we all may as well just have the county government take all of our money and they can give each of us an allowance. 

Someone needs to fire Hannes Zacharias, and Johnson County citizens, we need to do some soul searching about the members of the BOCC. Any commissioner who votes for the adoption of this abomination of a budget should be promptly run out of town.



Monday, July 27, 2015

Not far enough, Guv

I'm so sick of tepid Republicans. I can't blame Gov. Sam Brownback for the spineless tools leading the GOP in Washington. (I blame you, Kentucky, for Mitch McConnell and  you, Ohio for John Boehner. Get your Republican houses in order, would you?)

However, Brownback could use some of the lessons that those pukes McConnell and Boehner need -- those lessons on standing up for their political base, and picking a fight when a fight is ripe for the picking.

While other governors are ceasing the issuance of abortion provider permits, ahem, thank you Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Brownback has asked the Kansas Board of Healing Arts to inspect Planned Parenthood facilities.

Not far enough, Brownback.

I would HOPE that abortion-providing so-called healthcare facilities are inspected as a matter of course. That's not political or because I'm pro-life. I hope all "healthcare facilities" (I use the term very, very loosely when an organization's primary function is ripping babies out of wombs.) are investigated the same way restaurants receive somewhat regular visits by the health department. 

In the face of abortion facilities being used a baby part chop shops, I expect something a little stronger from our supposedly very conservative, Catholic-convert who attends a Protestant church Governor. 

So, be warned Planned Parenthood: The Kansas Governor wants the Kansas Board of Healing Arts to do its job. 

Not Far Enough, Brownback.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

STOP OFFENDING TEACHERS, you governmental boobs

The Kansas City Star's editorial board is demanding that the Kansas Legislature and Governor "stop proposing laws that teachers find offensive..."

That is an impossible task. It would require daily writing and passing legislation deifying teachers and devoting the state's entire budget, 100 percent -- to teacher salaries.

You see, there's never enough money to satisfy what has become a bullying, indoctrinating lynch mob of teachers. I have never, ever seen anything like it. Their collective demands are insane. No amount of money will ever satisfy their greed lust. 

I should note here, that I am talking about the deranged teachers making these demands. There are good teachers, but I don't subscribe to the notion that just because someone graduated from college with a teaching degree, they are all of a sudden a GOOD PERSON worthy of praise and worship. There are good teachers, but "good person" and "teacher" are not interchangeable words.

Teachers don't do the job for the money. Teachers do it, because of THE CHILDREN. They will tell you this over and over again, so many times that at a dinner with a teacher you will consider using your fork to stab yourself in the jugular just so you don't have to listen to the teacher with whom you're dining whine for one more second about how much they work and how much they're underpaid. 

Just last week, as she was Facebooking from a swimming pool (I was in my cubicle), a teacher friend was explaining to me that she had spent about $100 on classroom materials that day. She bought some stuff for her bulletin boards. And she quoted some statistic that says teachers annually spend more than $1 billion per year on classroom materials -- they are the largest donors to public schools.

I bit my tongue. Buying stuff to make your bulletin board "pretty" isn't really a donation to THE CHILDREN. I buy stuff to put up in my cubicle. I use my personal laptop, which, by the way, is the more expensive than my car, to do work all of the time. And yet, I don't consider it a donation to the company I work for. I know military members who have spent their own money on new uniform pieces -- yes, they are issued uniforms, but not always when they need them. And yet, I have yet to hear a single service member complain about having to "donate" to the U.S. Armed Forces.

So please, teachers throwing a never ending pity party, you aren't special. Everyone does similar things at their day jobs. The difference is, we don't go around demanding that others drop to their knees in awe at the mere mention of our work. (And we don't get summers off. Sad face.)

If it's really for THE CHILDREN, then why can't we fire bad teachers? Why must teachers have absolute job security? One bad teacher can damage untold generations of THE CHILDREN, but we can't fire them or hold the teacher accountable. That's offensive to me, but then, no one is demanding that I not be offended by legislation. (If we're being honest -- and I feel like we can be here -- I am regularly, annually, daily, offended by some piece of legislation or another. I mean, the federal government is funding Baby Chop Shops!! But I guess those aren't THE CHILDREN we care about.)

Teachers are insanely fuming right now, because now in Kansas in some cases, people who don't have teaching degrees can teach without teacher licensing. GASP! So this means Bill Gates is now qualified to teach Computer Science at some schools in Kansas. This is a good and reasonable thing. 

And let's take a moment to talk about what they're teaching in Kansas teaching schools: A big push now at Kansas teacher colleges is Social Justice. I am not kidding you. They are spending valuable collegiate time teaching future teachers about social justice. Teaching schools are Indoctrination Headquarters. To many, President George W. Bush isn't qualified to teach U.S. politics in a Kansas school, because he hasn't been through a few collegiate classes on Social Justice Theory. Seriously, I need a thesaurus to find every word synonymous with "insane," because I don't know enough words to describe that level of crazy.

Hey Star editorial board, how about instead of not offending teachers, you guys stop offending me? 



Friday, July 24, 2015

Cruz'ing

Say what you want about Ted Cruz, but the guy has testicles, which is a lot more than I can say for a whole lot of GOP Senators. 

(It's come to my attention that a lot of grassroot Kansas Republicans crossed Cruz off their list of potential horses in the race when he selected Axiom Strategies — run by Jeff Roe, a political consultant who hails from just over the Kansas-Missouri border -- to lead his campaign. Roe has made some political enemies and some people say he's sleazy. I don't know all of the details, but I'll work on it. Might be a good blog post.)

Anyway, back to Ted Cruz: From the Senate floor, Cruz called Sen. Mitch McConnell a liar. I would kiss Cruz if I could. This needed to be said. McConnell is evil. I do not say that lightly. He's a horrible person, who in the recent past, hasn't met a Republican he wouldn't stab in the back for a steak dinner from a lobbyist. He sides with the President over his own constituents and his party. He's the Senate's equivalent of Caitlyn Jenner (because he has no testicles. Get it.)
 McConnell called the Republican primary opponent of Thad Cochran (Mississippi Senator) a racist in order to help a doddering old man who probably can't remember the names of his own children win re-election. McConnell lacks integrity. He lacks a backbone. He is the epitome of everything rotten in politics. (And if you've ever spoken with the man in person, you probably walked away -- as I did -- choking back vomit from his slimy, double talking, Establishment-y existence.)

(An undated photo of Mitch McConnell, all gelatinous and without a backbone. Gross.)


Cruz is not my top candidate in the GOP. I think his chances at a victory are slim, because he doesn't play "nice" with the other Republicans. (And by "nice" I mean he says what he thinks and votes against McConnell and has no problem being vocal opposition.)  

I love a guy who pushes the GOP to the right. I love a guy who doesn't kiss McConnell's backside. Cruz isn't one of my top candidates, but I'm glad he's there. I'm glad he's honest, and I am so glad he said on the Senate floor, what needed to be said about Mitch McConnell.

P.S. Kentucky, you suck. Put down the whiskey and fire Mitch McConnell. Kansans will thank you. Texans, too.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Center for Medical Progress

These videos from the Center for Medical Progress are the most amazing things since sliced bread.

Despite the cries from people with their heads in the sand liberals, it's quite clear from the edited videos (and the full videos that are available online) that Planned Parenthood is receiving cash in exchange for baby body parts. There are a lot of people debating the semantics. They say what PP is doing is legal. (Abby Johnson, the amazing, courageous former PP Director, said the practice is legal and I believe her.) It may be legal. The question is, should it be?

In the first video, a woman calmly munches on a salad and sips a glass of wine as she talks about carefully crushing babies in the correct way so as to preserve valuable parts like livers and lungs. Truly, I almost vomited watching the video. It's one of the most horrendous things I've ever witnessed. I cried. That's not hyperbole. It's the truth. How far had that woman fallen to believe it's acceptable to sell (whether for profit or I don't know, fun?) baby body parts? It's sick and I am driven to my knees when I consider that I am forced via the tax code to fund one penny of Planned Parenthood's operation. 

In the second video, another Planned Parenthood staff member haggles over the going rate for baby body parts. 

  • No one is denying that these women in the video are Planned Parenthood employees. No one is denying that they said the things they CLEARLY say in the videos. 
  • No one is denying that Planned Parenthood accepts money in exchange for baby parts. They simply deny that it's illegal.
  • No one is denying whether those conversations on the video happened. They're simply saying the videos are out of context. Fine, but someone please tell me context in which what is on those videos is acceptable? I realize they use the "products of conception" for research. They used the Jews for medical "research" during the Holocaust. Should we somehow rewrite history to say that was OK?
I've digressed a little, sorry. So, back to the Center for Medical Progress. I love these people. A friend of the CMP's David Daleiden -- the guy responsible for the videos -- wrote in a blog post, which I can't find, that Daleiden made a vow in college to put a stop to abortion. I can't imagine the courage it takes to dedicate your life to something so controversial. I am personally praying for this guy every single night. He needs it. His opposition is comfortable selling baby body parts. They will have no qualms crushing him in whatever way they can. They will go after his family. They will ruin his reputation. They will damage his finances. They will damage him. 

I watch so many in the conservative movement sit quietly, idly in the face of bullying from our liberal friends. I am guilty as well. I am writing to you behind a veil of anonymity. (I work in the private sector and trust me, if people know your politics here, you do not get ahead.) But even those who don't work in the private sector, those who work in politics and in think tanks, many of those folks are silent on this issue as well and likely for many of the same reasons I am. I need a job. I need to be able to support my family and to move about in our messed up world. 

I really don't have the right words to express how much I admire Daileden. Not just for the courage to go after something that should be brought down -- if we're still sending $500,000 in federal funding to PP five years from now, gross -- but also for the brilliant way in which he's done it. I'm not sure I would have had the foresight to withhold that first video for any amount of time, but Daileden did.

He has 10 videos. TEN!!! That he is patiently dribbling out over time. He's assured that this story isn't going away overnight, no matter how desperately his naysayers wish it would.
He's not just brave. He's brilliant.

Olathe USD 233 -- CUT SOME ADMINS! Problem solved

I do not have a PhD in child indoctrination, so I will never be called upon to make these kinds of decisions.

BUT, I do have a brain and I can do math. (It's math I learned in a public school, so caveat emptor and all that.) Anyway, people in Olathe are whining about having $2 million LESS THAN ANTICIPATED in next year's budget, which will require shaving the district's gi-normous budget by a paltry $2 million.

USD 233's superintendent earned $268,000 last year. The next highest employee earned $180,000. The district has at least 20 employees earning six figures. I suggest a 10 percent pay cut for those folks.

Problem solved. No classrooms with 30 students. Spanish program stays in tact. The sky doesn't fall. (Yes, the brilliant Olathe officials have decided to cut beneficial educational programs instead of things like overpaid administrators and I don't know, the football program. I'm not knocking football. But if you're a school, funded by a populace via taxation with the idea that you're going to educate children, shouldn't you cut extra curricular activities before cutting actual education?) I.don't.get.it.

But of course, we can't do that. The children must suffer so EVERYONE knows how EVIL Brownback and the Kansas Legislature are. 

 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Not enough, Gov. Brownback

Gov. Brownback, what are you doing? 

As Governors of other states rushed to attempt to arm their National Guard members following the ruthless terrorist attacks against them, Brownback decided today -- five days later -- to do a full "security review" of the National Guard in Kansas.

I know that's got to be a huge relief to National Guard recruiters unarmed, and targeted in uniform in shopping malls across the state. They can't protect themselves, but some high paid consultant is hard at work (probably in a secured office building) crunching numbers to "review" their security.

I don't even... Order the armories emptied. Issue uniformed military weapons, or better yet, and easier -- allow them to carry their own weapons. I'm just spit-balling here.

Here's the courageous press release arming the pencil pushers and consultants to fire up their sharpeners:

Topeka –  Governor Sam Brownback has ordered a full review of security measures at all Kansas National Guard facilities and installations across the state. Immediately after the July 16 shootings in Tennessee, the Governor asked Kansas Adjutant General Lee Tafanelli to identify any additional actions that might be needed to ensure the safety of our National Guard members.

“The safety of our men and women in uniform, their families and the communities in which they live and work is of paramount importance,” said Governor Brownback. “We will implement security enhancements throughout this ongoing review and assessment as they are identified, including arming additional guardsmen, over and above those security personnel who already carry weapons.”

The review is in line with the constant and on-going assessment of force protection measures that occur on both a routine and event-driven basis. The Governor also stressed the importance of the active training that brings together the National Guard and local law enforcement as well as any needed improvements to communications capabilities.

“I will continue to work directly with the Adjutant General and law enforcement across the state to make sure we are doing everything possible to confront any potential threats and protect those who serve,” said Governor Brownback. “Any actions taken will balance the importance of security while still providing needed public access to facilities.

All Kansas National Guard facilities have been under a heightened force protection level since May.