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Entries from blogs tagged with “Creative Domain”

Abstinence Education Fails the Palin Household

http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Sep/01/1065306_11970783.jpgFrom the Huffington Post: Sarah Palin's 17-year-old , unmarried daughter is five months pregnant, the campaign has announced. Hoping to quell internet rumors about about her youngest son, Palin released the news about her daughter Bristol earlier today. A statement released by the campaign said that Bristol Palin will keep her baby and marry the child's father. Bristol Palin is five months pregnant, and the baby is due in late December. Can you imagine the Rightwingers' outcry if this were Barack Obama's 17 year old unmarried daughter? For more on Kansas political news and views, read Kansas Watch at http://kswatch.squarespace.com

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Kansas versus Iowa

As we begin football season that morphs into basketball season I recall that last year the pigskin Jayhawks beat Iowa State by a score of 54 to 17 and that Self's guys beat them here and there. But Iowa is beating Kansas in the race to provide health insurance to low income children.The latest census report on poverty and health insurance includes information on the percentage of uninsured children by state. I was amazed to find that 20 states have a lower percentage of uninsured low income children than Kansas. Then I saw that our sister state of Iowa beat us with only 2.9% of their children living in households at or below 200% of poverty not having health insurance while the rate in Kansas was 5.2%. These may not seem like large percentages but this represents 39,000 uninsured low income children in Kansas while Iowa had only 21,000. I am focusing on Iowa because it is the state that is most like Kansas. The census report shows Iowa as having a population of 743,000 children under 19 while Kansas has 747,000. That is really close. So what accounts for the difference?First, the Iowa legislature passed a declaration of intent stating the goal that all children in the state have health care coverage which meets certain standards of quality and affordability. Second, Iowa disregards 20% of earned income before they calculate income eligibility. This means that a family of four with an earned income up to $53,000 is eligible for state subsidized health insurance for its children while in Kansas the limit is $41,300 (200% of the poverty). In addition, an Iowa family of 4 with an income less than $35,750 pays no premium while in Kansas the limit is $30,975. Above that a modest monthly premium applies in both states. Third, and perhaps most important, Iowa has an outreach program to get children enrolled. There is a person in each county designated as the outreach coordinator whose job is to get children enrolled. You can go to a state map and click on a county and find the name, email address and phone number of the person responsible for outreach (http://www.hawk-i.org/en_US/outreach.html). Kansas does not have such a program. Imagine how many more Kansas children could have health insurance coverage if we had an outreach program. This is not just a children's health issue. Imagine the financial help to our community. Each year Health Care Access, Heartland Medical Clinic and the hospital emergency room provide medical care to the uninsured. What a help it would be to have more children insured.Certainly Kansas can beat Iowa in providing health insurance to low income children.

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The Fictional(?) Short Presidency of Sarah Palin

http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Aug/31/Gov-Palin-2006_Official.jpgAct IWhile on a visit to the Green Zone in Baghdad on September 11, 2009, President John McCain is severely injured when a suicide bomber makes it past security and detonates a bomb within feet of the President and his group.President McCain is immediately airlifted to Ramstein AFB in Germany, where, on September 14, 2009, he dies from his injuries.Vice President Sarah Palin is sworn in as President from her hunting cabin in Alaska by a federal district court judge.After her brief remarks to the nation, an open radio microphone catches her say, "If only the damn Democrats would have supported this war, that terrorist wouldn't have been so imboldened to kill President McCain."Her unguarded remarks infuriated Democrats and even many Republicans, who believe the remarks were insensitive at best and horribly divisive at a time when Americans need to come together to honor their fallen leader.During subsequent public appearances during President McCain's state funeral, President Palin in visibly shaken and shaking. There are unconfirmed reports on the Daily Kos and The Huffington Post that she has been given sedatives to help her function.Act IIOn September 22-24, 2009, a devastating Category 5 hurricane, Hurricane Mina, hits the Atlantic Coast of Florida. Most of the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral is destroyed. But the worst of the problems come as Miami suffered horrific damage, as does Jacksonville. Despite the best efforts of Gov. Charlie Crist, evacuation plans failed because of the crush of traffic. Lawlessness ensued after days of no power, with looting and rioting.When Dr. James Dobson blames Floridians for the Hurricane Mina because they voted for Barack Obama and Joe Biden for President (McCain won in 2008 by capturing Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Colorado), President Palin fails to issue a statement condemning Dobson until September 25, 2009. Even Gov. Crist calls Pres. Palin's failure to respond "reprehensible."On September 29, 2009, U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens dies from a heart attack in his sleep. On September 30, 2009, Pres. Palin announces that she wants to ensure the overturning of Roe v. Wade and selected former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline to fill Justice Stevens' vacancy.Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid calls the pick "the most unqualified and most political nomination in the history of the Republic" and vows that Kline's nomination won't even see a committee hearing.On October 3, 2009, Russia sends tanks and troops into the Baltic nations of Estonia, Lativia, and Lithuania, citing "concerns" over treatment of ethnic Russians in the former Soviet republics. In her 2008 debate with Biden, she had told the nation, "Should Russian aggression enter our allies in the Baltic, and if I were President, I will not let that stand." Pres. Palin sends a carrier group and a division of Marines off the Baltic coast in response. Russia recalls its ambassador to the United States. Satellite photos show a Russian convoy of ships off the coast of Cuba.While pre-occupied with the situation in the Baltic, on October 7, 2009, Iran launches a pre-emptive missile strike against Tel Aviv with chemical weapons. During that same debate with Biden in 2008, Pres. Palin said "an attack on Israel by Iran would be considered an attack on the United States."Pres. Palin asked Congress for a declaration of war against Iran, but Congress refuses to vote for a war with Iran while still engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan, and, apparently, the Baltic. Even Sen. Lindsey Graham says that America's armed forces are spread too thin. Congress does pass the first peace time draft since the Vietnam War. College campuses erupt with protests, with the Universities of Michigan, Kansas, Florida, California, and other schools closed because of the violent protests.Meanwhile, rumors continue to circulate, now even being reported by Joe Scarborough on MSNBC, that Pres. Palin has had a nervous breakdown. No one is quite sure who is running the country.Act IIIOn October 21, 2009, Israel has launched nuclear missiles and dropped nuclear bombs on Iran. Tehran is destroyed but turmoil has broken out in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Syria, with all three countries governments being toppled by fundamentalist Muslim radicals. Oil from the Mideast is at a trickle and gasoline prices in the U.S. have hit $9.50/gallon. On October 29, 2009, the Dow Industrials has its biggest percentage loss in its history, losing nearly half of its value in a single day.A group of Republican and Democratic leaders of past and present secretly gather in St. Louis. Former Presidents George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, and the House and Senate Republican and Democratic leaders say enough is enough, that Pres. Palin is in over her head. They appoint former Secretaries of State James Baker, Madeleine Albright, and Condeleeza Rice to secretly meet with Pres. Palin with a plan for her to resign.However, the plan is not to have Pres. Palin resign immediately. They approach her with a plan to have former Secretary of State Colin Powell be appointed then confirmed as Vice President. Then once he is confirmed, Pres. Palin is to resign and Vice President Powell is to be President. He will then appoint former U.S. Senator Tom Daschle as Vice President in a "Fusion" ticket to try and reunify the country and put experienced people in place who can deal with the nation's many pressing problems.Pres. Palin at first chaffes at the suggestion that she follow this national unity plan. She says she was elected to do a job. However, Secretary Baker politely but firmly reminds her that she's not getting the job done and even if she was, our adversaries don't respect her. NSA reports that China is assembling an invasion force in the Formosa Straits and it looks like Taiwan could be under attack within days.Palin agrees. On November 4, 2009, she names Secretary Powell as Vice President. On November 9, 2009, citing family concerns, she resigns as President of the United States, only the second President in history to do so. On November 15, 2009, the U.S. Senate confirms Sen. Daschle as Vice President.***I obviously do not want anything to happen to John McCain should he be elected. That would be a terrible tragedy for our country. And the above is a work of fiction. Or is it? I have no doubt that Gov. Palin is a good and successful person. But does she have the experience and respect to be President should the need arise? Is she too much of a partisan on abortion for her own good? Can she stand up to Putin and others?I have my doubts.To read more about Kansas political news and views, go to Kansas Watch at http://kswatch.squarespace.com

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Lawrence Citizens Beware!

Residents of Lawrence should be paying close attention to the District Attorney race in Shawnee County. Why? Because all of those "bad guys" from Topeka might be trading in their weekend passes to Lawrence in favor of a more permanent visit. If Eric Rucker, the Republican candidate for District Attorney, gets elected, he promises to strike fear in the hearts and minds of criminals again. If he does, they are likely to find another place to do "business." Rucker plans to make Topeka as un-welcoming as possible for the criminal element.Rucker looks well positioned to win the race, as the hardest part may likely be over. After defeating the incumbent DA, Robert Hecht, it seems like a downhill run straight through Chad Taylor (the Democratic nominee for District Attorney) and right into the DA's office. Taylor's youth and relative inexperience pitted against Rucker's 15 years + of prosecutorial experience and a 90% conviction rate seems unlikely to be much of a challenge.If Lawrence wishes to keep its city safe from those "bad Topekans," they better hope for an upset in Shawnee County. While Chad Taylor's emphasis on the "War on Drugs" might send a few more hippies your way, Eric Rucker promises to send the real criminals scurrying.

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The Best Health Insurance Program

The nation's best insurance program will receive a lot of publicity this weekend. Jerry Lewis will conduct the annual Muscular Dystrophy Association telethon this weekend. The Jerry Lewis Labor Day telethon has been a tradition since the first Labor Day telethon in New York City in 1966. Lewis and former comedy partner Dean Martin had previously conducted a telethon in New York City in 1955, but it wasn't on Labor Day. Jerry Lewis and all the other performers donate their services and receive no payment. Most people don't think of MDA as being an insurance program because it doesn't charge fees from those who need its services. You don't have to have donated to MDA in the past to benefit from its treatment programs. Patients don't have to donate money to MDA to continue receiving treatment, but they or their families often help MDA raise money so that it can continue to assist them and others.MDA not only provides treatment and other services, such as summer camp for children patients, but it also researches the nature of the over 40 neuromuscular diseases it covers and attempts to develop treatments that can cure those disorders or delay their progression."The only requirement for receiving an evaluation at an MDA clinic is the written recommendation of a physician in whose judgment a person may have one of the neuromuscular diseases covered by the Association's medical services program." This requirement is reasonable because MDA doctors would have less time to treat MDA patients if they had to spend their time diagnosing unrelated disorders. Similarly, paying only costs not covered by a patient's regular insurance allows MDA to help more people than it would be able to help otherwise. MDA can't raise its insurance rates to cover cost increases like traditional private or public insurance programs, so it needs to limit its costs to treatment that isn't already covered by other insurance programsMDA is an example of the type of organization we need more of. Other examples are St. Jude's (supported by the late comedian Danny Thomas and his daughter Marlo) and the Shriners' hospitals. What they offer is pure insurance. People who can afford to help pool their resources so that whoever needs help can obtain it. The practice is a survival from the days when Americans helped each other without worrying about any immediate benefit for themselves. They helped because they knew that if they needed help others would help them.MDA's research focuses on muscular dystrophy, but the treatments and knowledge that research produces can benefit people with other disorders. One of those treatments saved Jerry Lewis' life several years ago when he had a major heart problem. Recently, MDA researchers announced they have found a way to use a patient's skin cells as stem cells to treat ALS. Being able to use skin cells as stem cells will help treatment of many other unrelated disorders.This year's telethon will be broadcast on local stations throughout the country including KCTV Channel 5 and WIBW Channel 13 as well as on cable and satellite on Chicago's WGN. Those who prefer the Internet can find the telethon on MDA's website. The website currently has highlights from last year's telethon available. A new fund raising activity this year is an online auction that will run through Sep. 4.

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Tell Congress Authorize Drilling Now

We need to tell our Representatives and our Senators who are running for reelection this year we won't vote for them unless they vote to authorize drilling for oil in Alaska, off shore, in national parks and in my back yard. I doubt that anyone would want to drill for oil in my backyard, but Congress shouldn't prevent oil companies from drilling for oil where ever it may be.Drilling for new oil is part of the solution for the emerging fuel shortage. Another part is development of alternative biofuels.Backward Democrats oppose drilling for new oil because it might take 10 years for new wells to produce oil. The amount of time required to produce oil is the reason Congress must authorize drilling now. If Democrats had authorized drilling the last time they controlled the White House and Congress in the early 90's, oil prices wouldn't have gone up so fast this year. Drilling new wells might take 10 years, but replacing technology that relies on oil would take 20 to 30 years. Wealthy members of Congress who can buy any new technology that comes out don't understand that most of us cannot do so. Americans own 197 million motor vehicles (including motorcycles). New vehicle sales are only projected to be grow to about 18 million per year in 2017. Many of those sales are to first time owners (especially youth) or to buyers who are purchasing an extra vehicle for specialized use such as an RV for weekends.Motor vehicles aren't the only users of petroleum products. Residents of northeastern states use fuel oil to heat their homes. Petroleum is used for plastics, asphalt pavement and other purposes including lubricants.Increased production of biofuels will eventually reduce the need for petroleum, but not eliminate it within the next few decades. Congress should encourage production of biofuels by funding research or encouraging use of developed technology.For example, Congress can prohibit states from blocking construction of new clean coal electric generating plants that include algae reactors. Congress should consider requiring new coal plants to have algae reactors. Algae can provide a much more productive source of biofuels than food crops. Glen Kertz president and CEO of Valcent Products says that algae can produce 100,000 gallons of oil per acre compared to 30 gallons of oil from corn and 50 gallons per acre from soybeans. Processes such as thermal depolymerization can convert biowastes (including paper) and plastics to a synthetic oil. Companies such as Changing World Technologies are already converting biowastes to oil. Congress should consider eventually requiring companies that produce biowastes to have those wastes converted to oil or other purposes. Once the technology is sufficiently developed, Congress could prohibit cities, especially larger cities, from disposing of material in landfills that can be converted to usable oil.

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The Barack Obama Man Crush Is Back!

http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Aug/28/Barack_Obama_Capitol.jpgObama's acceptance speech was, like, wow. Went after McCain. Talked about coming from humble roots. Revived the American dream. Gave specifics about an Obama Administration. Spoke to our better angels.What a great day to be an American! To read more political news, views, and analysis, go to Kansas Watch at http://kswatch.squarespace.com

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Hillary Tells Her Troops Barack’s the Only Choice They Have

http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Aug/27/2245576555_2cbd56b420.jpgSen. Hillary Clinton gave the best speech of her life last night.She didn't whine about being dissed. She didn't overact. She was sincere. She was magnanimous. She was funny. She was visionary. She was poignant. She didn't talk about herself.And she made it clear beyond all question that she not only will do everything she can to help elect Sen. Barack Obama as President, but she expects her supporters to do the same thing.One of her best lines was that she hoped her supporters weren't just supporting her but helping the three families she mentioned in her speech who were having a tough time making it.This is my take away from her speech:"Dear supporters. If you vote for Sen. John McCain for President you are an idiot. Do you really think it's worth being mad about Barack Obama beating me so we can have four more years of the last eight years and further screw up the country?"If the diehards who supported her don't get it now, they never will. Support Barack and we'll probably win. Don't and we'll lose. Any questions?Now, let's move on to defining McCain and giving Barack and Sen. Joe Biden their time in the sun, ok?Thank you Hillary for doing the classy and right thing. And should things not work out for Barack in 2008, you didn't hurt yourself for 2012.Photo: Hillary Clinton delivering her victory speech at the Manhattan Center Studios, following the New York 2008 primary. (Photo by Angela Radulesuc, used under Creative Commons License)To read more about Kansas political news and views, read Kansas Watch at http://kswatch.squarespace.com

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Another Bush Administration

Democrats have been claiming that a John McCain administration would be a third Bush administration. However, it's the Democrats who are offering the ticket that more closely resembles the Bush administration. Democrats will offer an inexperienced young presidential candidate with an older experienced vice president to tell him what to do -- at least that is how the Democrats claim the Bush administration has functioned.Normally Sen. Joe Biden wouldn't be a bad choice for vice president. In fact, Biden is much better qualified to be president than is the Democrats' presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama. However, Biden is a bad choice for Barack Obama's running mate. because Biden's presence on the ticket will highlight Obama's inexperience.During the 2000 election campaign many commentators suggested that the vice presidential candidates of both parties seemed more presidential than the presidential candidates. Commentators can make the same claim about Joe Biden being more presidential than Barack Obama. It is unlikely that commentators will say the Republican vice presidential nominee is more presidential than John McCain.Biden is capable of debating foreign policy with John McCain, but Obama isn't. Comics have had trouble finding ways to use Obama in their monlogues. They may be able to get laughs by comparing Obama - Biden to Bush - Cheney.Biden's past comments about Obama's inexperience could also hurt Obama's chances of winning. Republicans certainly will be using those comments to discredit Obama. Obama has been claiming he wants to bring change to Washington. His choice of a career Senator as his running mate indicates he is attempting to convince older voters that "Change" is just a buzz word to con young voters into supporting him. Obama has no real intention of really changing anything in Washington.Joe Biden was a Senator when Obama was still a school kid. His selection will reduce make McCain's age a less significant issue.Democrats would have a stronger ticket with Biden as the presidential candidate and Obama as his vice president and minister of youth, but politics isn't logical.

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Background Checks for Candidates

Continued questions about Barack Obama's birth certificate demonstrate that the major parties need to institute a requirement that those who want a party's nomination should first have to undergo a full scale FBI background check before seeking the nomination. Such a requirement would insure party members had all necessary information before choosing candidates. Israel Insider, a major online newspaper in Israel, is claiming that the birth certificate Barack Obama is using to claim to have been born in Hawaii is a forgery. Analysis indicates it might be a modified version of his half-sister Maya Kassandra Soetoro's birth certificate. You may recall that online experts exposed a forged document Dan Rather attempted to use to discredit George W. Bush four years ago.If the claim is correct, it would not necessarily mean Obama wasn't born in Hawaii. He could have simply have used her birth certificate instead of obtaining a copy of his own. I don't know why he would do so, but it is a possibility. Perhaps there is some type of adverse information on his birth certificate.Obama's citizenship is potentially questionable because his parents were not both U.S. citizens as was the case with John McCain's parents. Being born to a mother who was a U.S. citizenship would not automatically have conferred U.S. citizenship because his father was not a U.S. citizen. Being born in the United States or their possessions would have eliminated any question. The laws in effect at the time were complex and his mother's extended residence outside the U.S. would have worked against him. The citizenship question is important because the Constitution requires presidents to be a "natural born citizen" but does not define the qualification.The Democratic Party should request Hawaiian authorities and/or the FBI to investigate to determine if there is a valid birth certificate on file for him. Past elections indicate that the truth will eventually come out. Democrats need to find out the truth before they nominate someone who might be using an invalid document to claim eligibility to run for president. Nominating an ineligible presidential candidate would probably give the election to Sen. John McCain, regardless of whom Democrats chose to replace Obama. Democrats had to replace vice presidential candidate Thomas Eagleton in 1972 after it was belatedly discovered he had been treated for depression.Presidential and vice presidential candidates have no secrets. Anything questionable in the their past will likely come out like George W,. Bush's DUI arrest when he was young. A background check would insure that party members would know about such problems before choosing a nominee. The issue in this case can be resolved easily if Obama will authorize Hawaii to show a copy of his birth certificate to the media. For the future, the parties need to have background checks.

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Russia Proves NATO Needed

Russia's overreaction to the Georgian attack on South Ossetia demonstrates Russia is a potential aggressor and NATO is needed to prevent it from attempting to expand by force.In my previous post I indicated that Georgia's attack was ill advised and unjustified. Georgia's argument that it has an historical claim on Abkhazia and South Ossetia ignores the fact that Russia can make the same type claim about Georgia. Russia's claim on Georgia might be even stronger because Georgian Joseph Stalin ruled the Soviet Union for many years.Russia could have justified intervening to force Georgian troops out of South Ossetia by citing the U.S. action against Iraq after Iraq invaded Kuwait. However, Russia went beyond that and invaded Georgia like it planned to stay. Russia also made the mistake of allowing some armed thugs to use violence against Georgians and their property.Russia's invasion of Georgia indicates it may be planning to invade Ukraine. NATO should grant membership to Ukraine now to prevent such an invasion. Ukraine has a strong army that wouldn't need much back up from NATO. European nations should take initial steps to expand their military forces with indications that they will not follow through if Russia withdraws from Georgia. European leaders should consider the success of President John F. Kennedy's strong response to the Soviet Union's efforts to place missiles in Cuba. The U.S. should do what President Ronald Reagan did in the early 80's and increase spending on missile defense technology. A potential danger with a strong response is that it could bring down the current Russia government.European nations need to do whatever they can to prevent having to obtain fuel from Russia. Such actions should include expanding solar and wind energy along with nuclear and clean coal technology. Coal plants should include algae reactors to produce oil for fuel use. European nations should work to develop the technology to convert plastic, paper, etc. wastes into fuel.

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KU Shows Mercy on Mizzou in Cali

Face down in a Jayhawk planter,Hideous to view.Lays alone a drunken tiger,plastered thru and thru.Midnight hour, whiskey sour,just to name a few! (WHOO!!)Hail to thee our alma mater,To hell with drunk Mizzou!Rock Chalk Jayhawk, SAVED YOU!!!!!!Rock Chalk Jayhawk, SAVED YOU!!!!!!Rock Chalk Jayhawk, Saved You, Rock Chalk Jayhawk, Saved You, Rock Chalk Jayhawk Saved YOU!!!(enter band chorus and clapping as his friend's car pulls up and I dump his drunk mizzou ass in his car)

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Reasons to Celebrate in Paraguay and Kansas

Today Paraguayans are celebrating the end of the 61 year rule of the Colorado Party. It has the distinction of having been the longest ruling party in the world. Not a good thing in this case.Paraguay has been working on developing democracy since the removal of Alfredo Stroessner the dictator who ruled from 1954 until he was deposed in 1989. In 1993 Paraguay had their first free election since 1928. However, this year's election was the first time a non-Colorado candidate won. It is a hallmark of democracy when ruling parties change through free and fair elections. Fernando Lugo is the new president and is more personality than party. He was a Catholic Bishop who resigned his clerical position to run for president. The Vatican still does not recognize his resignation. He is considered a leftist but what that means is yet to be determined.What does this have to do with Lawrence? Well in addition to being interested in the peaceful spread of democracy, the Lawrence League of Women Voters had a small role in the development of democracy in Paraguay. After the 1993 election several Paraguayan women's groups were eager to have contact with the League of Women Voters in the U.S. The women presented their proposal to the Kansas-Paraguay Partners and Partners of the Americas. They were put in contact with the League of Women Voters of Kansas and Mary Miller a member of both Kansas-Paraguay Partners and the Lawrence League was the lead Kansas person in this project.In 1995 Mary traveled to Paraguay to become acquainted with the women's groups and their needs. In 1997 five Paraguayan women came to Kansas to spend two weeks hosted by five of the local Leagues. Their purpose was to see government in action and the participation of women in governmental and non-governmental organizations. Their project on returning home was to carry out a series of surveys in five public markets in and around Asuncion to determine and prioritize the concerns of thousands of women who work in the markets. Forums were held and the market women gained confidence in their ability to voice their grievances. The final forum was held before the municipal elections of November 1996, and was attended by a League member from Kansas. The candidates for mayor were invited and heard the women's complaints. The candidates then signed contracts to better conditions. Now that is democracy at work.By the way it is also the birthday of Asunción the capital of Paraguay. Asunción was founded on August 15, 1541 and is one of the oldest cities in the Americas.

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What Was He Thinking?

What was Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili thinking when he attacked the former Georgian provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia? Did he really think he could conquer those areas without a Russian response?As the oldest of three boys he should have been aware of what can happen when big brother decides to get even with little brother for some provocative action. As the oldest of four kids I learned that parents don't take kindly to an older child taking advantage of size when dealing with younger siblings. Those who don't have siblings probably have seen the following scenario on a tv show or movie. Little brother teases big brother until big brother responds by hitting little brother. Little brother then complains to dad who, depending upon when the program or movie was made, takes off his belt to punish big brother or sternly lectures big brother.Saakashvili thinks Georgia should be able to control the provinces because they were historically part of Georgia. However, Russia can make the same claim about Georgia being historically a part of Russia long before Russia started calling itself the Soviet Union. In fact, native Georgian Joseph Dzhugashvili (aka Joseph Stalin) helped turn Russia into the Soviet Union The provinces left Georgia during the same period when Georgia left the Soviet Union / Russia. If Georgia can justify retaking the provinces by force, then Russia can justify retaking Georgia by force.Georgia needs to abandon all claims to its former provinces and try to find a way to peacefully coexist with the Russian bear. That is if it isn't already too late.

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How About a Kansas Blogger Meet Up August 29th in Topeka?

I am planning to be in Topeka on August 29th (the Friday before Labor Day) for a meeting. If any of my fellow Kansas bloggers would like to meet up (or really dedicated readers or fellow political junkies), let me know at epplaw(at)gmail(dot)com and let's see if we can set up something.Perhaps we could meet for coffee or at Washburn or at some cool new Topeka hangout and talk blogging and politics (or Chiefs, KU, or KSU football, for that matter). Let me know! I look forward to meeting you.

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How did we do raising our 9,187 children last year

Last year we took part in raising 9,187 children. That is the total number of Children in Need of Care who were in out of home placements during the last fiscal year. Since the state produces data on a fiscal year basis our year runs from July 1 through June 30. Children in Need of Care are those who are awarded that designation by a juvenile judge. The Secretary of the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) is given custody and most are then placed in foster care. The Secretary is acting on our behalf. The goal for these children is to keep them safe, find a safe and permanent home for them as quickly as possible and maintain their well-being.Safety Children in our custody are reported as being safe. 99.91% of children in out of home placement last year were reported as safe; 98.6% of children were safe after leaving foster care. Nationwide child welfare systems have shown that they do keep children safe. This is generally measured by counting the confirmed or substantiated incidents of abuse or neglect. Kansas has a rather high level of proof needed to substantiate a case resulting in only 8% of all investigations of abuse or neglect being substantiated. This low rate suggests that the safety measure may not be the best indicator of safety. Permanency This is child welfare jargon for children returning to a safe home, being adopted or having someone else assume guardianship of the child. SRS has set a standard that 76.2% of children entering foster care will return home within 12 months. Last year they missed the mark. Only 57.3% of children returned home in that time period.If children are returned home too quickly they frequently return to foster care in a short period of time. In Kansas only 6% of children returned to care within 12 months of going home. This is a low rate and a good outcome. This probably can be attributed to the child welfare contractors having to assume the cost of foster care when a child returns to foster care within 12 months. This has been an effective provision of the contracts encouraging the contractors to provide support and services to families after reunification. SRS reports that last year 712 or 727 (both numbers appear in their data) children found new families through adoption. This compares with 715 the year before. SRS has a standard that 32% of children adopted will achieve this within 24 months of entering foster care. Last year the rate was 30.7%. With 871 children awaiting adoption one wonders if these numbers couldn't be improved.Someone, usually an extended family member, assuming the guardianship of a child is another way that children achieve a safe and permanent home. Last year 330 children left SRS custody through guardianship. This has become a well accepted way for children to achieve a safe and permanent home. Research has shown that these arrangements have many benefits because the people assuming guardianship are usually grandparents or aunts or uncles who are well known to the children.Well-being Many experts suggest that education, health and mental health are what ought to be considered as child well-being. As a parent I know that these were important considerations in raising my children. How are they doing in school? How is there physical health? How is their mental health?Unfortunately we know nothing about the well-being of children in SRS custody or those leaving. This is disturbing. Imagine a parent not knowing how their children are doing in school. Isn't that neglect? In general we know that children entering foster care are not doing well educationally. That is even more reason to make reporting educational status as a priority. Youth leaving care because they reach the age of majority is another group for which well-being is important. These are youth who did not return home, were not adopted and did not have someone assume guardianship. SRS reports that 433 youth fit this description last year. Nationally, research on these youth has shown that they do not do well as adults. They enter foster care with many problems and leave with few resources and few prospects. In recent years these youth have more opportunities to attend college and maintain their health care after leaving care. Yet, we don't know how many are leaving care with a high school education, work experience or a medical card. You can look at the date yourself at http://www.srskansas.org/CFS/datareports08.html

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Fred Phelps and WBC Fool Canada

http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Aug/09/redir.jpgYou have to hand it to Fred Phelps and his merry band of gay/USA bashers at Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka.The Canadians say they are on the look out for the group, who said they were going to protest an accident victim's funeral in the Great White North.But alas, the angry, hateful, but wiley Topekans fool the Canadians and slip into the country.Makes you tremble a bit if you're a Canadian citizen that their police and border officials can't keep out people who they know are coming.The Winnipeg Sun lets us in on the secret of the Phelps clan's success: Despite an attempt to stop them at the border, members of a fundamentalist U.S. church are in Manitoba and intend to picket Tim McLean Jr.'s funeral today, a spokeswoman for the group claimed yesterday. Shirley Phelps-Roper refused to say where Westboro Baptist Church members slipped past Canadian border guards or how many entered the country overnight Thursday... To avoid any suspicion at the border, WBC members did not have placards with them, said Phelps-Roper, daughter of church pastor Fred Phelps. They sent their signs into Canada by courier and picked them up after they arrived, she said....Thank God it was just placards and not enriched uranium the Phelpsites managed to pre-place for their little escapade.You can say a lot of things about old Fred but stupid is not one of them.Photo: Captains Bob and Doug MacKenzie of the Royal Canadian Immigration and Border Control Ministry?For more Kansas political news, views, and humor, go to Kansas Watch at http://kswatch.squarespace.com

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Phill Kline’s New MasterCard Ad

http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Aug/08/kline2.jpg * Cost to Kansas taxpayers to settle lawsuit because of your political grandstanding-$475,000 * How much your pro-life buddies said they were going to raise for you in a week (but couldn't) to help you run for re-election as Johnson County DA-$300,000. * Losing your re-election bid and your protege and deputy throwing you under the bus all in one week-PRICELESS! MASTERCARD-DON'T LEAVE TOPEKA WITHOUT IT!For more Kansas political news, views, and humor, read Kansas Watch at http://kswatch.squarespace.com

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About Tuesday Night

Just a few assorted thoughts after Tuesday's Kansas Primary Election. * If you want an outstanding synopsis of What It All Means, go read Nick Sloan's winners and losers. * Everyone blew Lynn Jenkins' possibility of victory. * Early in the results, WIBW-TV's analyst kept talking about some magical "rural Kansas votes" what would save Runnin' Jim Ryun's track spikes against the Energizer Bunny Jenkins. Seems like a pretty silly statement now. Jenkins lead all night. * The Wacky Right took a shot to the head. Sexfree Phill Kline over in Johnson County got zonked as did the aforementioned Runnin' Jim. Eric Rucker, however, remains the Spawn of Phill in Shawnee County. * WIBW-TV had about fifteen ways it was covering the primary election-TV, streaming video, Twitter, website, blogs, live chat, live updates from the Kansas Secretary of State's Office. Well done! They are way, way ahead of the curve in election coverage options. * I'm going to be sad to see Sexfree Phill go. He is good for Kansas Watch traffic and just so much fun to needle. Looks like more posts on Fred Phelps and pray that Eric Rucker quits sounding so darn reasonable like he did last night on WIBW. Jim Ryun will be missed to but he just didn't lend himself to as much abuse. Have to respect a high schooler who runs a sub-4:00 mile.Now, onward and upward to the General, fellow Sunflowers!For more on Kansas politics, go to Kansas Watch at http://kswatch.squarespace.com

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Douglas County: Below normal?

If you want to get into interesting conversations start comparing Lawrence and Douglas County to other places in Kansas or places with Big 12 universities or places in the US or : It goes on and on. I guess that most people want the place where they live to be the best. Although I know a lot of people who pine for some other real or imagined place. Recent data on children removed from their homes show that, on average, 2 children per 1,000 in Douglas County were placed into foster care. This is below the 5 per 1,000 that is the median for Kansas Counties. You may recall the recent flap in Wichita. There was an assertion that more children were removed from their homes in Sedgwick County than Los Angeles or New York. Well, in Kansas, Sedgwick is entirely normal removing 5 children per 1,000. These figures come from recent end of fiscal year data from the Department of Social and Rehabilitation (SRS). Since the number of children removed from their homes can vary quite a bit from year to year I used the average number of children removed from their homes over the last 3 years. In counties with small number of children the year to year variation can be very large. For example, Greeley and Wallace counties have the smallest number of children (less than 400). One family having problems requiring 3 children to be placed into foster care in one year would really change the placement rate. The 3 year average accommodates for this type of variation. At the low end, no children from Hodgeman and Stanton Counties were placed into foster care during the last 3 years. Hodgeman and Stanton each have less than 700 children. Scott County has about as many children as Norton and Rooks Counties but has fewer removed from their homes. Scott County averaged 0 children placed although they did have one child removed for the home two years ago. Norton is in the middle of Kansas counties with an average of 5 children per 1,000 removed. Rooks County is below that at 3 children per 1,000. I wonder what is different about Scott County. I also wonder what is different about Barton County. With an average of 14 children per 1,000 removed from their homes Barton has the highest placement rate of any county in Kansas. This is almost 3 times higher than the state median. Bourbon, Labette, Crawford and Allen are not far behind Barton in terms of the removal rate. What is a reasonable rate for removal of children from their homes? We don't know the rate at which children need to be removed from their homes. Traditionally foster care is used to provide a safe place for children who are suffering abuse or neglect. SRS reports that during the last fiscal year there were 53,888 reports concerning the welfare of children. A little over half of these were assigned for an investigation. Two-thirds of these were for reasons of abuse or neglect. However in Kansas a child can be identified as a Child in Need of Care (CINC) for a variety of reasons other than abuse or neglect. One-third of the reports investigated were for non abuse or neglect reasons. What to make of all this? Since there is no absolute standard against which we can judge these rates, it is worth looking at counties at the extremes (Scott and Barton) to see what we can learn from their experiences. And by the way, in Kansas, Sedgwick County has a normal foster care placement rate and Douglas is below normal.

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