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Archive for Friday, June 17, 2011

Kansans with disabilities could lose services because of state budget cuts

June 17, 2011

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— State budget cuts to human services are starting to inundate local communities.

Cottonwood Inc., which provides services to individuals with developmental disabilities in Douglas and Jefferson counties, is searching for ways to make up for cuts that will remove state funding for 26 people.

“We’re trying to continue to serve them,” said Sharon Spratt, chief executive officer of Cottonwood. “We are meeting with the county next month to see if they could help make up a little bit of this loss.”

The 26 people with developmental disabilities receive staff support to help them with their daily lives and personal needs, she said.

“They function pretty well, but they do need supports in order to keep them healthy and productive and safe,” Spratt said.

Cottonwood is losing about $250,000 in state funding in the program, she said.

That is just one of many cuts that will hit social service agencies as the Legislature reduced funding to the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services by approximately $20 million for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

Comments

voyagetaker 2 years, 9 months ago

Our company knew that there would be drastic cutbacks to Kansans with disabilities with the election of Sam Brownback. We have trouble fighting "Republican Christians" who fail to understand that to "love your neighbor as yourself" means all neighbors, not just the rich ones. Those of us who devote our lives to helping those who cannot help themselves are afraid that this governor will not look for other ways to help these people but just reduce or eliminate the help they have depended upon for years. I have always been told that when one door closes another one opens. Let us hope that the opening door does not come too far behind the one that has just closed. To the governor who is going to a prayer meeting in Texas: Be sure to pray for those Kansans who just had the door slammed in their face.

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Scott Morgan 2 years, 9 months ago

This is the last post on this topic. I knew it would swing to the side of I don't care about disabled people. I do. Very much. If you folks only knew.

I was bringing up some alternatives, because folks, these people we are serving will not be able to argue. I believe things are going to happen over the next few years which will put us all in some degree of economic pain.

Look how easy it is to cut this program.

Autie even noted because we are scrimping already regarding pay some abuse is noted. I cringed reading that.

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Scott Morgan 2 years, 9 months ago

Autie....I have seen staff from some of these place qualify for more federal and/or state assistance than the client they were supporting.

This is why I suggested perhaps looking at another type of care. There will be more people needing services with less money to pay them. Sadly we need to deal with the notion we are going to have less of the pie for any government agency.

There is simply less pie.

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autie 2 years, 10 months ago

wissimo says: I assume these are reasonably paid positions. Mind boggling.

autie writes: You couldn't be more wrong. Employees of community service providers are the lowest paid people in the DD system anywhere. That is why the struggle so much with turnover. With no rate changes over the years it is only getting worse. Overworked and unpaid leads to higher chance of abuse and neglect. Direct line staff at KNI and Parsons State probably are making around 12/hour. CSP workers are lucky to be making more than 8 with no prospect of a raise despite ability or job performance. I have seen staff from some of these place qualify for more federal and/or state assistance than the client they were supporting. Only in America. The greatest industralized nation on the planet.

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Doppleganger 2 years, 10 months ago

It's only fair that austerity measures hit everyone. It's too expensive to pay for everyone.

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nonracist 2 years, 10 months ago

As I suggested before, why don't you call one of the supporting groups, maybe Cottonwood since you are obsessed with them and ask your questions and maybe request a tour.

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Scott Morgan 2 years, 10 months ago

If money was no issue I would be for whatever care met the needs. Post WW2 we had what seemed unlimited funds and made laws reflecting spending without thoughts of how we would eventually pay.

Same with housing for the poor. If it felt right, we did it. Cabrini-Green is just an example of this type thought. Using the analogy in comparison to home health support of how a good intended program like providing low income housing became a huge financial sink hole.

I tend to think in terms of how many tax payers it takes to do X. Or John Q Disabled takes 25 taxpayers to fund one year of support. Don't get me started on military spending.

In home care the numbers are growing no doubt about this. How many severely handicapped students do we have in Douglas County per year? Each year we send out more and more.

Notatota, I have no answer to how many are being cared for. Think though, almost every larger county used to operate a home for the disabled, larger cities too, then the state and this was years ago. We must assume the numbers are larger now. Add in the growing Autism spectrum citizens needing supervision and must believe this is a growing population.

For the sake of debate let's use the number 100 as the people needing 24 - 7 support in Douglas County. (I do know there are a few group living situations) For this discussion lets use 100. So, right off the bat we have at least 100 staff, not to mention how many it takes to do a 24-7 supervision.

I assume these are reasonably paid positions. Mind boggling.

If anything, I would be for highly regulated state and county homes again.

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Scott Morgan 2 years, 10 months ago

The analogy was expense. Cabrini-Green began as a rather simple concept. Poor folks = provide housing. Personal round the clock in home care is exactly the same simple concept. Same in the sense "gone wrong too expensive due to inefficiency."

Far far too often we spend ourselves into oblivion as in Cabrini-Green before we discover how far wrong we went. A study showed we could have purchased a home for each of the residents in what we spent.

How utterly American, how ridiculous. We seek to help the less fortunate with housing, then spend more, so much more, we could have built a small home and given it to the unfortunate.

All I'm stating is with all the expense of staffing a profoundly disabled person, is it more cost efficient to just hire the family full time.

Can we afford to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, especially when we are cutting services everywhere else. Is there a way to assist our less fortunate by combining services?

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Scott Morgan 2 years, 10 months ago

We often make mistakes, but in the long run I do think this nation tries to even the playing field for all. The Cabrini–Green public housing experiment gone wrong in Chicago comes to mind.

We learned and quit sticking a billion into a failed program. ***Cottonwood is a great organization and have great people working. So did Cabrini-Green.

My only concern with Cottonwood type care is have we reached a point where the shear costs make it impossible to continue. We need to look at alternatives. We as a nation do have a hard time correcting our mistakes, for instance.

There are honest mental health care professionals who would tell you in private about the horrors caused by closing state and county mental institutions. These horrors are going on today.

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Cait McKnelly 2 years, 10 months ago

"A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members." ~ Mahatma Ghandi Welcome to the new "Christian based" (hahahaha coughcough*) Objectivism.

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whats_going_on 2 years, 10 months ago

By cutting services for these consumers, and possibly putting them out of their jobs at CW, they'll just end up needing MORE assistance. How does this makes sense?

Oh, it doesn't.

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sierraclub 2 years, 10 months ago

Raise taxes!!! Put a tax on wealth!!! Add 2% sales tax to all purchases!!! Add .50 per gallon tax to all fuel costs!!!

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William Weissbeck 2 years, 10 months ago

Thank God, literally, that someone pointed out that Ayn Rand's philosophy and Christianity are not compatible. The conservatives that embrace both refuse to acknowledge the bi-polar, schizophrenia that are subjecting themselves to. I just don't want to be around when their heads finally explode.

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autie 2 years, 10 months ago

All those folks in Cottonwoods work programs are either in the workshop or a community placement. Either way the wages they earn reduce the amount of their SSI monthly payments. In some case, yes they do pay taxes. Consume. I can only think that like me, they buy groceries and movie tickets and clothes and CD's and all manner of consumer goods. Community based services is the most cost effective model yet to date. Yet the workers are across the board payed about 30% less than their state counterparts. And many agencies have frozen wages for two or three years...and lost many valuable employees because they had bills and children to feed. Groceries and gas go through the roof and no cost of living increase puts the pinch on these community providers. Of course unless you're like CLO and got favors from Jordan.

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Jan Rolls 2 years, 10 months ago

Sam the sham thinks he was elected king

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verity 2 years, 10 months ago

And the desired outcome is to break government so bad that it can be easily destroyed. Then Sam can be dictator in the name of his god.

The Republicans ever since Ronald Reagan have made this very clear, although Reagan was doing it in the name of a different god---greed and power.

All the same in the end except that religion mixed in seems to make it even worse.

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Scott Morgan 2 years, 10 months ago

Cottonwood takes folks on SSI and make them into tax payers....ever think of that? And consumers of ???????? Really?

Not the folks who need one on one busses and be hand fed. Autie, maybe you ought to take a peek in the light. How many tax and private donation job training programs do we have in this state?

We have job training programs with more staff than folks they claim to train. Cost effective?

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autie 2 years, 10 months ago

hrrummmphf.....I could talk all day on this one. Bottom line, the current regime is enacting policy at SRS, Commerce, Labor and others that are all doomed to failure. The only net result of any of what Sam and his cronies are doing will be to better position a few and screw the rest. It is making Kansas business unfriendly as no company would want to relocate to a state that ignores cultural and education as well as its least vulnerable citizens. The obviously know little of economic development. Sam has hijacked and ended more jobs than he has ever thought of creating. And it is only thorough economic growth that will enhance state revenues that funding for disabilitity services will ever increase. Anybody that thinks that faith based and/or private do gooders will help the stiuation is nothing but a pea wit..Wissmo, get your head out of the sand dude. Cottonwood takes folks on SSI and make them into tax payers....ever think of that? And consumers of national product.....and it is Medicaid...no Medicare happening at Cottonwood. Bill Graves and Connie Hubble did a much better job than Sam and his imported goons....Just how many did get canned over there just so our boy could pass out his crony favors? It's a damn foolish and criminal thing he did...That Sedlecki is a walking, talking hypocrite of the first order......passing out father edicts....that divorced joker ain't going to many little league games or parent teacher conferences...his kids live in New York. Kansas is sick of the crap now...how sick do you think we will all be come next election? Mr. Total Failure has already driven the nails into his coffin of demise.

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tomatogrower 2 years, 10 months ago

Well, I guess the conservatives do want to take us back to the "good old days". Back when adults with extreme disabilities probably died before their parents became incapable of taking care of them. And you seldom saw them in public. Conservatives are tired of being served somewhere by someone who isn't "normal". In Lawrence, the conservatives don't do their own recycling, because one of "those people" might talk to them.

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verity 2 years, 10 months ago

Rarely is anything completely black and white. Unfortunately a lot of people seem to see things that way.

I have worked for both the public and the private sectors and for non-profit organizations in a number of different states and have talked to many people about their own experiences. There is always waste and there are always those who will try to game the system. Some will give 110% even when treated badly and some will do no more than they can get by with. Others are not well trained to do their job or are badly supervised and don't really know what they are supposed to be doing. Often there are personality problems which are not being addressed in any sort of helpful way, although a lot of time may be spent making the trek to HR.

What I'm advocating is focusing in on the problems and fixing them, not using the current slash and burn everything in sight which, as far as I can tell, never actually fixes anything and quite often costs more in the long run.

Bringing in new management often only makes the problems worse. As I have said before---ask the people who are actually doing the job how it can be done better and more efficiently. Not only do they know better than management or someone brought in from the outside how things can be improved, it gives them an incentive to improve and makes them feel appreciated---something which certainly is often missing in the workplace today.

Waste and inefficiency can only be adequately addressed from the lowest level---trickle up, not trickle down.

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woodscolt 2 years, 10 months ago

We gotta make way for a new logo somehow. These people with disabilities can be ignored by the elitist slimeback. The republican party is the anti-people party, proven once again.

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Scott Morgan 2 years, 10 months ago

We need to become Americans again. Although me thinks we are drifting further apart. Texas Governor was quoted as saying, forget the left they will never like us anyway.

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gkerr 2 years, 10 months ago

Bob Keeshan, Wrong Bob. Stimulus package plus Tarp, plus foreign wars, plus Medicare, plus other entitlements have been building for 70 years, they are not new. Medicare trust fund is bankrupt and has been for years as incontinent politicians have raided it and used it for disgressionary spending they can get political credit for and thus empower themselves by blessing the electorate with candy, bread, circuses, and even more expectation raising entitlements. Social security lock box likewise plundered and empty.
Since 1945 Republicans have controlled both senate and house for 12 years, Democrats for 44 years. During that period republicans held presidency 36 years, democrats 30 years. The entitlements that are accounting for the future debt of 60 to 100 trillion dollars exceeding visible revenues have been on the books for decades. Stimulus package alone matched Iraq war cost in one bill. It is very clear, historically, that since 1945 elites including Ivies and Media, and in recent decades corporate elites have been left of center-there has been relentless pressure to expand size and scope of government. Pilgrims citizens are right of center but with opinion molders, academics, media, intellectuals pushing Keynesian expansion here and In Europe we have under saved and overspent for decades. As A famous Pastor demagogue has said, "the chickens are coming home to roost", and so they are. Gkerr

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gkerr 2 years, 10 months ago

Bob Keeshan, Wrong Bob. Stimulus package plus Tarp, plus foreign wars, plus Medicare, plus other entitlements have been building for 70 years, they are not new. Medicare trust fund is bankrupt and has been for years as incontinent politicians have raided it and used it for disgressionary spending they can get political credit for and thus empower themselves by blessing the electorate with candy, bread, circuses, and even more expectation raising entitlements. Social security lock box likewise plundered and empty.
Since 1945 Republicans have controlled both senate and house for 12 years, Democrats for 44 years. During that period republicans held presidency 36 years, democrats 30 years. The entitlements that are accounting for the future debt of 60 to 100 trillion dollars exceeding visible revenues have been on the books for decades. Stimulus package alone matched Iraq war cost in one bill. It is very clear, historically, that since 1945 elites including Ivies and Media, and in recent decades corporate elites have been left of center-there has been relentless pressure to expand size and scope of government. Pilgrims citizens are right of center but with opinion molders, academics, media, intellectuals pushing Keynesian expansion here and In Europe we have under saved and overspent for decades. As A famous Pastor demagogue has said, "the chickens are coming home to roost", and so they are. Gkerr

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parrothead8 2 years, 10 months ago

The headline, "Kansans with disabilities could lose services because of state budget cuts," is inaccurate. It should read:

Kansans with disabilities are losing services because of state budget cuts

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ivalueamerica 2 years, 10 months ago

The Christian Right GOP, recently, used the phrase "God helps those who help themselves" as Biblical inspiration for cutting services to the poor, children and the most vulnerable.

However, that was not in the Bible. He bore false witness. The Bible very clearly teaches something different, compassion for those in need, not harsh judgement and turning your back.

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kusadgirl 2 years, 10 months ago

I don't think anyone over the age of 50 should be able to vote.

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gkerr 2 years, 10 months ago

Pace, Cuts aren't easy and there are winners and losers in how the cuts are allocated. We are trillions in debt at the Federal level- some direct indebtedness of 15 trillion up 30 % in just the past several years. When federal indebtedness is calculated by apparent or anticipated revenues over committed outlays according to current law we are some 60 to 100 trillion short of being able fund our commitments. Google household debt. We as households are in debt about 18 % of our total family assets. Just to get back to 1994 level of family indebtedness we would have to cut 20,000$ of per household debt- we would still be in debt to the tune of 14% of assets. Everyone of us who are not uberwealthy must cut back and that includes, families, state, and local government and especially the Federal government. Gkerr

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pace 2 years, 10 months ago

Cutting services because of the economy, sounds reasonable until you know someone without a wheel chair and a billionaire that doesn't pay any tax.

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verity 2 years, 10 months ago

Wissmo: "Decades ago there were state and county hospitals which offered long term care for those not able to keep the loved one home."

Were you ever in one of those hospitals?

"I heard sometimes Cottonwood (they are not alone) pays for family members to care for the disabled family member. ????"

Sometimes (probably often) the family can't afford to have a person stay home to do the care without some help and normally it is less expensive to keep a person at home if possible than to put them in an institution---not to speak of the fact that it's usually better for the person.

Also, we are not necessarily talking about people who are completely disabled---they run the spectrum and many are able to have jobs, live in the community and become at least partly self-sufficient because of the help of Cottonwood.

There's always waste in all organizations, public or private. It seems to me like it would be better to concentrate on finding and fixing the waste rather than this slash and burn policy.

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Jimo 2 years, 10 months ago

You know, on South Park, when they had an elephant make love to a pig, it was hilarious.

But now, when I see the GOP making love to the Koch Bros., I'm as horrified as those poor little third graders at the sight of the spectacle.

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Scott Morgan 2 years, 10 months ago

I honestly hope this comes out the way intended.

How sad an occasion when another human is stricken with a developmental disability or traumatic injury placing them in need of constant care.

Decades ago there were state and county hospitals which offered long term care for those not able to keep the loved one home.

When did this switch to Cottonwood type services being assumed and expected? When did we begin to shift responsibility off the family? Many families took care of their own back in the day. These people believed it was their responsibility. Hard work you bet I know some who do this.

Some as in for example President Kennedy's family paid to keep a developmental disabled sister in a Wisconsin home designed for care of this type. I heard sometimes Cottonwood (they are not alone) pays for family members to care for the disabled family member. ????

Cottonwood is a great organization, but is it economically viable? Was it ever? if one really looked at the spiraling costs, growing clientele, and needs you could see the nightmare of expenses? With any government program one never witnesses status quo, but always more more more.

Cottonwood has grown to the point of perhaps needing to cut back just to see if there is any waste.

When did we as a society feel the need to provide free 24 hour round the clock in home care for all those who tragically are disabled? Cooking, cleaning, play, health needs, and transportation?

People now expect government assistance, no, demand it. We can no longer afford to be everything to everybody.

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Liberty275 2 years, 10 months ago

How's that hopey changey thing working out for you brainiacs on the left now?

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Liberty275 2 years, 10 months ago

In fact, misery, as measured in the unofficial Misery Index that simply totals the unemployment and inflation rates, is at a 28-year high, reflective of how weak the economic recovery has been and how far there is to go.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/43441924

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yourworstnightmare 2 years, 10 months ago

It's the ownership ship society.

If you don't own things or can't do your own, then you're on your own.

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Corey Williams 2 years, 10 months ago

Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime. Just so long as he is physically/mentally capable of fishing.

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rtwngr 2 years, 10 months ago

Government can't fund everything for everybody. There has been too much bloat in the budget by the liberal controlled state house for too long. Going on a diet is no fun but sometimes you need to lose some weight off of your fat A$$ so you don't die. Good for Sam!

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bobberboy 2 years, 10 months ago

ah quit yer damn complainin' ya bunch of democrats !!

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Getaroom 2 years, 10 months ago

Not to worry, "The Kansas Mega Church of The Brownbackward Corporation" and his crusader soldiers will save the day. Look at how well praying for rain has turned out in Texas with his pure of heart and selfless help - we need not be of concern fellow citizens - all is well. Rest peacefully in denial. And really, with Minister Phelps and the throngs of sheepls at his side, all can and will be accomplished before the next predicted Rapture.

Heaven on earth in Kansas at last!! Praise the Brownbackward!
He can do it, we can help.

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weeslicket 2 years, 10 months ago

this is an example of the proverbial "republicans believe in giving people a hand up, and not a hand-out".

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 10 months ago

Sure, this looks bad and heartless and all that, but please, give Sam some time. Soon, he'll let us know what his final solution is, and all will be well (as long as your name is Koch.)

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jackbinkelman 2 years, 10 months ago

Only the most despicable of leaders would Slash and Burn through those least able to defend themselves. Shame on kansas.

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jackbinkelman 2 years, 10 months ago

Only the most despicable of leaders would Slash and Burn through those least able to defend themselves. Shame on kansas.

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mloburgio 2 years, 10 months ago

If you want a republican to care about you, remain a fetus!

"Of course it hurts, you're getting screwed by an elephant!"

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Number_1_Grandma 2 years, 10 months ago

Does anyone know what God Sam Brownback is following?

The blind leading the blind with this administration...

Kansas will be ruined before his term is up!

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Lawrence Morgan 2 years, 10 months ago

If you were on disability insurance, how would you feel? This is not to be given up in any Kansas community.

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liar 2 years, 10 months ago

A societies success can be measured by the lengths to which it supports the weakest members. Welcome to failure, welcome to misery, welcome to greed and the failure of government to support and promote the interests of all it's citizens.

Who voted for these miserable failures that want the elite minority to enjoy all of the wealth and privilege. What the hell were you thinking. Oh, I see, you weren't at all.

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Bob_Keeshan 2 years, 10 months ago

Still plenty of money in the SRS budget to hire over 20 new administrators to a bunch of $100,000 a year jobs.

Welcome to the Enron style of government.

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tange 2 years, 10 months ago

Nature's perennial bounty explodes about us, yet all the greenbacks inexplicably are turning Brown- .

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Jan Rolls 2 years, 10 months ago

Glad you voted for sam the sham now? He lied when he said he would look out for you.

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Jeff Zamrzla 2 years, 10 months ago

Ayn Rand would be proud to know they've bough into her ponzi scheme! Support the Bernie Maddoff's before anyomne else.

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Phillbert 2 years, 10 months ago

Kansas Republicans are just following Christ's teachings. As Jesus said, "Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers you do because you need to give tax cuts to big business."

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