Archive for Friday, January 27, 2006

350 turn out to ‘Take Back Kansas’

January 27, 2006


At best, organizers of the MAINstream Coalition's Thursday evening forum, "Take Back Kansas: How We Can Move Kansas Back to the Middle, and Why It Matters," hoped for 25 people.

At least 350 showed up, packing a large room at Plymouth Congregational Church, 925 Vt.

"I brought 50 brochures, thinking I'd have twice many as I'd need," said Brad Kemp, a member of the Kansas Coalition for Lifesaving Cures, a group that stands ready to defend stem cell research in the state.

"Now, I'm completely out," Kemp said.

MAINstream Coalition is dedicated to upholding the separation of church and state and preserving public schools.

MAIN is an acronym for Moderate Alliance of Informed Neighbors.

The forum was aimed at rallying support for moderate candidates running for the State Board of Education, five of whom - Janet Waugh, Harry McDonald, Don Weiss, Kent Runyan and Jana Shaver - were present.

Shaver, who lives in Independence, announced that she had filed earlier in the day to run against Iris Van Meter, a conservative Republican from Thayer.

Currently, conservatives control six seats on the 10-member board. Four of the six are up for re-election in the fall.

In recent months, the board has been wrapped in controversy after voting to de-emphasize the teaching of evolution and, in October, hiring conservative lobbyist Bob Corkins to preside over the education department.

Corkins did not have a background in education, and he had criticized school spending and supported vouchers.

"I still believe (Corkins' hiring) was a major error," said state board member Sue Gamble, a moderate Republican from Shawnee, prompting a round of applause.

But Gamble was quick to stress she is committed to making Corkins' tenure successful.

"You didn't send me to Topeka to pick fights with the commissioner," she said, reminding the audience that attacking the "radicals on the board" was a misuse of energy.

A much better use, she said, is to focus on this fall's GOP primaries.

"We've had primaries where fewer than 10 percent of the eligible voters turn out," Gamble said. "We've got to get the message out that primaries are important. That's how the radicals have taken over; they know."

Much of the meeting was spent encouraging involvement in the political processes.

A show of hands revealed that about one-third of the standing-room-only crowd had come from Johnson County.

"We came because we feel like we don't have a voice over there," said Kathi Bjerg, who lives in Lake Quivira.


Sandman 12 years, 2 months ago

I agree. It's idiots like Corkins that fake getting themselves beat up so they can get sympathy when they get caught writing stupid stuff on the internet.

Oh wait, that wasn' the "idiot fundies".. that was the "smart" liberals.

b_asinbeer 12 years, 2 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

classclown 12 years, 2 months ago

Move Kansas back to the middle what? The middle ages?

Mercat 12 years, 2 months ago

Wow, that many. Guess they don't have jobs to go to this morning so they can sleep in. Hard left trying to act like they represent the middle. Give me a break.

Richard Heckler 12 years, 2 months ago

It was good they had such a great turnout. Hopefully this stimulus will move around the state and impress upon voters the primaries are equally important, if not more so, as the general election. Even Lawrence has had poor showings on primary day.

dirkleisure 12 years, 2 months ago

This is a tremendous waste. Will my taxes be affected by the State Board of Education? Will school funding? Will anything of import?

Conservatives of this state must roar with laughter when they see so much political energy and capital expended on State Board of Education races.

Meanwhile, the Kansas House and Senate tilt further and further to the right, doing ACTUAL DAMAGE to our state.

Again, complete waste of time. Why don't you work on putting reasonable Kansans in the House of Representatives in 2006? That will have an actual effect on this state. Instead, you're playing right into the hands of the right-wing radicals.

The Kansas Board of Education is the greatest ruse yet perpetrated by the radical right in this state.

concerned_citizen 12 years, 2 months ago

"...on your way out?" Defender? Seen election results lately? Wishful thinking. Kansas has always been a conservative state. Lawrence is the only place where a left wing view predominates, and then only in the parts of town that don't leave the county to go to work.

Also for conservatives to be on their way out would only happen if the right grew as apathetic as the left on election day.

...and what's with the stem cell thing? Is there a group to protect research in molecular biology too? What the hell?

Jamesaust 12 years, 2 months ago

It will be quite difficult for these candidates to get much attention for such a 'down ballot' position.

The only people likely to get worked up beyond the dedicated types who elected the current BOE will be those who are mortified by various actions taken in the last 2 yr. by the BOE and those who fall for the mischaracterization of those opposing this mismanagement as being "liberals" or such. The 'mortifieds' are likely to be quite numerous and should arrive at the polls in waves particularly in more urbanized areas (although perhaps not Wichita). The 'ideologues' who hadn't bothered before to vote will be those not swayed by conservative voices questioning the judgment of the BOE. The only likely reservoir for additional votes for this position (outside Wichita) are more rural parts of the state.

This new crop of candidates will probably be (modestly) successful in eliminating a "conservative" majority....until the next election when everyone, except the extremists, forget about these positions and we head down the monkeytrail again.

badger 12 years, 2 months ago

concerned_citizen -

hard right does not necessarily mean all conservatives, not even in 21st Century Kansas.

I think the hard right, the religious wing, is on its way out. Mainstream Republicans want the pendulum to swing back towards the middle.

The evangelical political movement will self-destruct. Driven by ego, they'll continue to demand appeasement (like, say, that the White House specifically send out Christmas cards, even to nonChristian supporters) and threaten removal of their support if they don't get it. Eventually, someone will decide they've pushed too far, and say, "OK, you said I better support making sex outside of wedlock a crime 'or else', give me your 'or else.' Go, take your votes and your wackjob demands with you, and see who else you have to support."

The demands of the hard religious right are starting to cross over into 'fiscally irresponsible' and 'big government' and that's going to tank the base of the Republican Party, which remains primarily a bunch of middle-class, upper-middle-class, and upper-class white guys who want stable markets, low taxes, free trade, and small government. If they ever do actually manage to criminalize abortion, social welfare will go through the roof, which is why you rarely see an abortion bill written with enough provisions regarding the health of the mother to stand a court challenge. They write the laws to appease the hard line, knowing they'll never come to pass, so they can say, "I tried, but those darn activist judges and their Constitution!"

Mark my words, in ten years we'll either be back to the middle as a nation or in bloody revolution.

mcoan 12 years, 2 months ago

"Wow, that many. Guess they don't have jobs to go to this morning so they can sleep in. Hard left trying to act like they represent the middle. Give me a break."

Insulting. So anyone who attends an evening meeting is unemployed? What about the City Commmission? What about evening church services? How insulting..."if you get involved in politics, you must be unemployed." Screw you.

"Hard left tryihng to act like they represent the middle" Uh, the Mainstream Coalition, sponsor of the event, is made up of Republicans, and one of the BoE members who spoke was a Republican. Uh, what are they, a new breed, "Hard Left Republican?"

See, this more proof that the "Extreme Right," who is far, far right of the vast majority of voters, loves to lob names and call anyone who doesn't think like they do "liberals" or "commies" or "wackos". Yet what we're talking about here is MODERATION. Not liberalism. This meeting was about about returning Kansas back from Extreme Right Republicanism to Moderate Republicanism.

Kansas had a long, long track record of electing Moderate Republicans before the Extreme Right hijacked the party in the early 90's. Bob Dole, Nancy Kassebaum, etc. were MODERATES. But the Extreme Right would today say they were LIBERALS. What a joke.

pelliott 12 years, 2 months ago

The school board election is important. I don't want"intelligent design" in schools as science. It is hard to go up to the ballot box and have some idea what the people running, stand for, these kinds of forums are a real help. The education system, how it is shaped, led and supported, matters, it is about families, labour, ecomony, community, health, etc. The effects of those years, their effectiveness, their deliver are generational. If one is not encouraged to become practiced in thinking or being responsible for information and arguement being of value, they become little better than talking heads. Simply put, if you shoot your mouth off without being responsible for not only the accuracy but for the fairness of your ideas and comments then you are a coward. If you are taught in schools to be a coward intellectually you can't contribute much, mentally and spiritually. Of course I am silly, bullys and cowards don't really care about selfexamination or personal responsibility.

I wish I understood the judges better.

badger 12 years, 2 months ago

I agree with pelliott that the school board election is important, if they're deciding the curriculum, deciding about vouchers and charter schools, and setting teacher standards.

Deciding curriculum: The ID debate has cost the state of Kansas a good bit of money already. The quality of science education affects Kansas students' ability to compete with students from other states, and the credibility of the scientific culture and community in the state has a real effect on what sort of businesses the state attracts, which will determine the course of the state economy for the next several years.

School vouchers: One of the hottest topics facing not only schools but the nation over the next five years. Has the potential to radically restructure how education is funded and managed - and more than half the state's budget goes into education, so that's a lot of money moving around, and a lot of social change.

Teacher standards: Low teacher standards mean lower-quality teachers, more restrictive standards mean higher-salaried teachers with more experience, who are closer to retirement and pension. However, hiring higher-quality teachers and paying them what they're worth increases retention, which in the long run is cheaper than rehiring 30% of your teachers every year. The resulting higher-quality education means more people want to live in your state, which means more businesses and residents with the money to pick and choose where they are, which is economically a boon despite being a short-term cost hit.

Just on those three issues, they have the power to significantly impact your taxes, your economy, the future of your state. It's important that they understand the complexities of the issues, not simplify them into sound-bite positions, and that they not be knee-jerk reactionaries from either party with a personal moral agenda and axe to grind.

b_asinbeer 12 years, 2 months ago

???? What's going on here? All I said was that Corkins is an idiot and I get my post removed???? I said the same thing as Sue Gamble....I'm waiting to hear from you board moderator.

It's funny though, I once called Brownback an idiot, and that post got removed. Somebody called me an A$$wh.le, and that person never got their post removed....hmmm....looks like a republican fundie is running this board.

princess 12 years, 2 months ago


I am afraid that you are incorrect. Kansas has NOT always been a conservative state.

The extreme right GOP duped you. Pool the wool back from over your eyes my friend.

princess 12 years, 2 months ago


I think that Mercat may have stolen the Archie Bunker award for the moment. However, I have full faith that Arminius will reclaim his rightful title soon enough:)

badger 12 years, 2 months ago


Stop saying his name!

You say his name three times, and you'll summon him!

It's like that movie 'Beetlejuice' where if you said 'Beetlejuice' three times you'd summon Beetlejuice!

Oh, drat.


Centrist 12 years, 2 months ago

Middle ground ... right ... left ... political rallies, controversies, evolution, intelligent design, neo-cons, liberals, meetings, fights ......the school system is OUTRAGEOUSLY politicized. What a waste of time and money that oculd be put to good use helping our state's children.

How about educating kids .. I thought that's what schools were for.

benm024 12 years, 2 months ago

Badger you say:

"Teacher standards: Low teacher standards mean lower-quality teachers, more restrictive standards mean higher-salaried teachers with more experience, who are closer to retirement and pension."

Problem is the present administration believes in more restrictive standards with the same poor pay. You get what you pay for. Between the Bush Administrations "No Child Left Behind except we don't feel like paying for it" policy and the "we love mediocrity, have fun coasting after your tenured" teachers unions we will never have the high quality teachers we all want for our kids.

Centrist 12 years, 2 months ago

If you're paying peanuts, you'll get monkeys ...

badger 12 years, 2 months ago


My statement was mostly directed at the assertion that what State School Boards do doesn't have much impact on the rest of the state.

Yeah, though, I do agree NCLB contains more fertilizer than a truck bomb, and is just as likely to improve the structure of what it affects.

Even the conservative teachers I know hate it.

princess 12 years, 2 months ago

Frank has not been discredited. You just don't agree with him. There is a difference.

concerned_citizen 12 years, 2 months ago

Yes Frank did get some of his research wrong, but so what?...and yes Kansas has always been conservative...just not always Republican. There used to be a difference and still is to some. Boy that's an idea I'd like to see brought back from the dead.

Godot 12 years, 2 months ago

"Yes Frank did get some of his research wrong, but so what?"

What is wrong is that you and your buds keep repeating his lies as truth.

Jamesaust 12 years, 2 months ago

"Kansas rejected slavery, which was pushed by liberal Democrats. "

I believe that this may rank as the single most absurd comment Hermann has ever made at LJW. (That it is false is, of course, without need to point out.)

Jamesaust 12 years, 2 months ago doubt. Democrats - of course. "liberals" = heck no! I will defend Trent Lott's non-liberalism to my grave!

Jamesaust 12 years, 2 months ago

For Hermann, I recomend "The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln" by Sean Wilentz. For my worth, the single best book on American history published in the last year (maybe longer).

A perfect history of a non-ideological partisanship - back when liberals, moderates, and conservatives inhabited both political parties, who divided over issues.

Quite unlike today, where it seems every passing year divides the parties into ideological extremes. Good-bye the liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats of yesteryear.

Godot 12 years, 2 months ago

Wendt pointed out that Franks' book was a bestseller on the Times list, as though that is proof of the book's veracity. So, does that make James Frey's fabrication of an autobiographpy true, after all? Tell it to Oprah.

Regarding Frank's truthfulness, he said in an interview on NPR that he didn't take sides in politics, that he was neither liberal nor conservative; then a short time later he appeared at a rally as a supporter. I would guess that it was that helped get his book published and publicized. He's just another cog in the MoveOn propaganda machine.

Godot 12 years, 2 months ago

"The data that Steve Malanga uses to debunk Thomas Frank's book makes it sound like the American economy (and the Kansas economy in particular) is running at full bore.

Anyone working can tell you that it is not.

Real wages have gone down, people are losing pensions (ever work at Sprint?) and spending longer durations on the unemployment rolls to get poorer paying jobs."

Gov Sebelius would argue with you over that one. Check out her state of the state address.

Godot 12 years, 2 months ago

What's wrong with Kansas is that rural Kansans send their kids to college and they never go back. We educate our kids right out of our economy.

The legislature should task the regents system with creating jobs in Kansas. Funding should be directly tied to results, to the number of our educated youth that stay in Kansas and build it back up again. Why should Kansans support a system that robs it of its future, its youth, its promise?

Godot 12 years, 2 months ago

Wendt, conservatives expect that their investments in institutes of higher education yield positive return on the progress of the state, ie its economy and its future.

meggers 12 years, 2 months ago

I'm not sure what you mean, wendt. I posted links to the full articles.

If Arminius wishes to discount the content of the articles, it seems to me that the only way he can legitimately do so is to either a) prove the information is false, or b) point to data that draws a different conclusion.


meggers 12 years, 2 months ago

Gotcha, wendt. No offense taken.

In my few online tussles with him, I've noticed that Arminius also has a penchant for name-calling and attempts to pigeon-hole those who don't share his political views. Not that he alone engages in that sort of online behavior, but he stands out in that his general disdain for others comes across as genuine, as opposed to just posturing.

Thanks for the clarification.

meggers 12 years, 2 months ago


You specifically requested information regarding the imbalance of Fox News, not ABC's This Week or Meet the Press. The fact that the article points out Tony Snow's ongoing political affiliations doesn't negate the other information in the article. And I might be mistaken, but from what I understand, Snow was a speechwriter for HW Bush, not for Reagan. Furthermore, he was a frequent co-host on Rush Limbaugh's show, and he openly endorsed Bob Dole for President- while he was employed as a news anchor. That's a far cry from having a history in politics and moderating a political talk show. It's silly that I should have to physically point out some of the examples you asked for, as they are quite clear in the links I posted, but I'll humor you:

'Of the 42 partisan guests, 35 were Republicans and only seven were Democrats-a five-to-one imbalance. Furthermore, of the handful of Democrats that did appear, the majority were centrist or conservative, and frequently expressed views more typical of Republican guests. For example, centrist Rep. Jim Marshall (10/23/03) argued that the media weren't covering the "good news" in Iraq, while Sen. Zell Miller (11/4/03) talked about his dissatisfaction with the Democratic party and his fondness for George Bush. Thirty-four of the 35 Republicans who appeared were conservatives; only one, Noah Feldman, was classified as a centrist.'

'The numbers show an overwhelming slant on Fox towards both Republicans and conservatives. Of the 56 partisan guests on Special Report between January and May, 50 were Republicans and six were Democrats -- a greater than 8 to 1 imbalance. In other words, 89 percent of guests with a party affiliation were Republicans.'

'But Fox kept advancing the notion that the commission's report actually backed up what the Bush administration has been saying. Hume explained that Bush has long denied a connection between Iraq and the 9/11 attacks, while maintaining that "There's no question that Saddam Hussein had Al Qaeda ties." This is, according to Hume, "an assertion the commission's report actually supports." The report indicates several meetings between Iraqi intelligence and bin Laden, who was attempting to set up training camps in Iraq and procure weapons. The Iraqis apparently "did not respond" to those requests. This is a far cry from what most people would call a "tie" or a "connection.'

Many of Fox's biases are also displayed through innuendo and repetition, even of patently false information. In addition to the above, you might want to actually read these links for evidence of that:

Feel free to dismiss this information if you wish. Still, you can no longer (truthfully) claim that you have not been provided with specific examples of bias at Fox news.

wheremyshoes 12 years, 2 months ago

Mercat--it's ok to admit that you were a liberal democrat in your youth, back when some people cared about peace and love and holding hands. Thunder runs free in heaven.

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