Entries from blogs tagged with “Creative Domain”
Thought it might be interesting to look at some of the registration numbers for Johnson County, which has probably the most interesting primary race Tuesday--GOP incumbent District Attorney Phill Kline v. Challenger Steve Howe. * Total 2008 primary election registered voters--342,095 * Total 2006 general eleciton registered voters--342,688 * Total 2008 primary election Democratic voters--76,270 * Total 2006 general election Democratic voters--71,136 * Total 2008 primary election Republican voters--163,533 * Total 2006 general election Republican voters--169,629 * Total 2008 primary election Independent voters--100,234 * Total 2006 general election Independent voters--99,656Here's something that makes you want to go "hmmm". While GOP voters still outnumber Democratic voters by more than 2:1 in Cupcake Land, does this make the Republican primary voter more or less conservative? The loss of Republican voters is nearly equal to Democratic and Independent voter gains from the 2006 general election.Without polling, I'd suggest the leftward/center shift, though only about 4% of Republican voters, probably helps Kline. If turnout is decent, it might not matter. It turnout is light and Sexfree Phill's True Believers turnout, it could be a factor.But that's why we play the game, right?!
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Aug/03/kline2.jpgNever mind the primaries for Congress and U.S. Senate.THE BIG RACE in Kansas Tuesday is the primary for Johnson County District Attorney.Pro-Life zealot and incumbent Phill Kline (and former Kansas Attorney General) is opposed by moderate Republican Steve Howe. The anti-abortion movement nationally has made this a key battleground.But a recent SurveyUSA poll shows Howe with a healthy 52% to 44% lead over Kline. Even the conservative Republican blog Stay Red Kansas says this looks good for Howe.However, others on aren't so sure that Howe has the race wrapped up.Tony's Kansas City, which tends Leftward, says Kline might win because "nobody votes." And turnout is predicted to be low on Tuesday-maybe only 19% or so, the lowest since 1990. However, Johnson County might be an exception becuase of a sales tax measure and the Kline/Howe race.The independent KC-area blog Nick Sloan makes the case that you can't count out Sexfree Phill for a number of reasons, including Kline's fundraising prowess, a low turnout that favors true believers coming to the polls but not moderates, the Kelsey Smith Trial, and Kline's "high" profile.Kansas Watch predicts a 52% to 48% victory for Howe. Why? Call it a gut feeling.Read more about Kansas politics at Kansas Watch, http://kswatch.squarespace.comPhoto: Johnson County DA Phill Kline.
I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea.If someone deliberately set fire to Fred Phelps' and Westboro Baptist Church's property last night, they are a despicable moron.While I find the Phelps' message of hate against gays and the USA disgusting (and a bit confusing), they have the right to their views and a right to be safe.So, if someone did this trying to "help" the opposing view, it was wrong, stupid, illegal, dangerous, and not helpful.This is not how we do things in a civilized democracy.An excerpt from the Topeka Capital-Journal:Shortly after, family members began filming footage of the fire, taking photographs and documenting what occurred. Several carried signs as they watched.A Topeka firefighter spokesman on the scene said although the fire started on the outside of the garage, it it isn't clear if it was arson. The spokesman said investigators would be brought in to determine the cause. He also said the damage was contained to a small area of the garage. The cause of the fire wasn't determined Saturday afternoon and remained under investigation, Topeka fire marshal Greg Bailey said. ----But one thing did strike me as funny. Were the Phelps protesting their own fire? That's what the TCJ's story seems to suggest. Perhaps they made a quick sign, "God hates fire."Just something that makes you want to go "hmmm." And let's hope authorities catch the culprits if it was arson.
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Aug/01/roberts.jpgI'm no polling expert. I've used polling results for candidates but I'm not a geek on how they are conducted and so forth.But there's just something not quite right about the recent polling on the Pat Roberts/Jim Slattery U.S. Senate race. (Assuming Slattery wins his primary on Tuesday, of course.)Look at the above graphic from Pollster.com.Now with no major news peg, no scandal, really, not much, does Sen. Roberts take such a commanding lead? Were his negative TV ads that effective? Frankly, I doubt anyone is paying much attention to the Senate race yet.Perhaps it was the earlier polling that overstated Slattery's support. But if you look at Rasmussen Poll to Rasumssen Poll and throw out the others, those polls showed Roberts with a healthy lead, then Slattery closing the gap, then Roberts turning and burning.I'm not saying the polling is wrong. Chances are it is probably correct. But as we learned in the Democratic Presidential Primaries this winter and spring, you can't always count on what you think the polls are telling you.Read more Kansas political analysis at Kansas Watch, http://kswatch.squarespace.com
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Jul/31/red.jpgEarlier, Kansas Watch posted the video of Kansas U.S. Senator Sam Brownback blasting China for alleged plans to spy on Americans and others who visit China for the Olympics.But American blogger The Only Redhead in Taiwan basically calls Brownback a hypocrite in a post called "Mr. Brownback, the kettle called:"Just a gentle reminder. Kansas junior Senator voted last year to enacat the Protect America Act, which allows for the federal government to engage in what one commentator says is a ":massive, untargeted collection of international communications without court order or meaningful oversight:" Oh, and Sam also voted for FISA as well.So, Sam doesn't mind it if Americans spy on Americans and others, just not if the Chinese do it too. Sam's more of a "Buy American" kind of guy.An excerpt from the Redhead dude: I want to say that there is something intrinsically different in how US surveillance on suspected threats works, but I have no reason to do so other than the fact that I have faith that the US is freer than the PRC (when, after all, is a Chinese director going to put a biopic out on a sitting PRC chairman?). I'd be interested in hearing from someone as to why it's different when the US does this sort of thing and when the Chinese do it. If, as I presume, there is no difference or very little then the idea that Sen. Brownback of all people is the one to lead the crusade for justice in the PRC is indeed "laughable." Let's not forget that some of the suspected "terrorists" spied on in the US were peace activists and poverty relief advocates. Some of those jailed at Guantanamo Bay were picked based on hearsay from vengeful relatives, later found to have no merit.That's a hell of a track record.Let me reiterate, I think what China is doing is horrible, but I find little difference in what we see our own government doing. This sort of conduct leaves a bitter taste in my mouth wherever it takes place.------Just something to make you go "hmmm."Photo: The Only Redhead in China says Brownback is like kettle calling Red Chinese pot black.(Geez, so many colors to keep track of!) Read more about Kansas politics at Kansas Watch, http://kswatch.squarespace.com
Has James Hansen, head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, been taking bribes from George Soros and others? I'm not an attorney so I don't know if Hansen has actually done anything illegal. However, as a political scientist the situation definitely has an odor to it. There is no legitimate reason for any private body to spend $750,000 to "package" a government official the way George Soros allegedly did for James Hansen. There is no legitimate reason for a government official to receive a grant from a private research organization for supporting one of its causes as James Hansen allegedly received from the foundation directed by Sen. John Kerry's wife. Hansen subsequently endorsed Kerry for President, possibly in violation of federal law.Bribery primarily involves someone providing something of value to a government official to take an action favored by the person providing the inducement. The term can also apply to an attempt to get someone to act contrary to the desires of an employer. Hansen's recent claim that energy company payments to non-government scientists to support some theory is a bribe is nonsense. Payments to private individuals, including university professors, represents an employer employee relationship. Hansen may be committed to the global warming nonsense, but if he is receiving anything of value from the private sector his continued commitment could be for personal financial gain. I'm particularly concerned about Hansen misusing his position to present false data and suppress information that challenges his theories. These actions could be a response to a bribe. Those offering him inducements may want more than just his verbal support.Hansen suppressed a discovery by NASA scientist Ferenc Miskolczi that the equations used to calculate catastrophic warming contained a major flaw. The equation falsely assumed an atmosphere of infinite thickness. Steve McEntire discovered in that NASA's portrayal of 1998 as being the warmest year in the U.S. was wrong and that 1934 was actually warmer. The official explanation is that the original claim was a "mistake", but the federal government has a history of producing false data to support federal policies. For that matter scientists have a long history of altering data to validate their theories. Is NASA playing Enron type accounting games with data? If someone at NASA was accepting a bribe, he might alter data with a plan to claim an honest mistake if someone discovered the error. The official NASA response to discovery of the error is that the error is small, but the change in temperature during the 20th Century was only 0.17% which is of questionable significance. Lying about 1998 being warmer than 1934 made the claim of global warming seem more valid. 1934 being warmer than years late in the century provides a strong argument against the whole claim of global warming. NASA's claim of 2007 being the second warmest is highly questionable and inconsistent with the data. NASA claims continued warming while other organizations disagree. NASA has been circumventing federal regulations requiring review of federally funded research before it is distributed by having employee Gavin Schmidt operate a privately funded website RealClimate to publish information. Websites that question NASA's beliefs request visitors to donate money to fund the site. RealClimate doesn't have to because it is subsidized by the same George Soros who has been aiding James Hansen. What would be the response if the Department of Defense used this approach to influence public opinion?Recently NASA has been shifting research funds to scientifically worthless projects, such as computer studies about how global warming might affect tornadoes. The studies ignore the fact that the only difference in temperatures comparing the future and now would come on the hottest days of summer when tornadoes are less frequent. Temperatures would still pass through the normal seasonal changes from winter to summer.I don't know if James Hansen is guilty if is guilt of taking bribes under the legal definition of the term. However, he and his supporters routinely accuse those who disagree with them of doing so because they are being "bribed". Thus, Hansen by supporting the claims of those who pay him from the private sector is guilty of taking bribes under his definition of the term.
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Jul/28/Cotta_Carter_55_180.jpgOur redder colleagues over at Kansas Liberty cite a Rasmussen poll that says 64% of Kansas oppose dropping the highway speed limit to 55 miles per hour.Finally, something Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals in Kansas can agree upon!As a progressive, I want more energy efficiency. But when you live in Kansas where once you get out of Topeka, Wichita, or Kansas City the spaces are wide open-as are the highways-55 mph is a snail's pace.People's time is also important. Having lived through the 55 mph imposed speed limit as both a Kansan and South Dakotan, I can tell you that turning a 5 1/2 hour trip to Topeka from Sioux Falls into a 7 hour trip is boring and for the birds. Actually, the birds probably fly faster.Progressive that I am, I think there should be no speed limit on rural Interstates-they were designed like the German Autobahn-for speed. Couple that with flat ground, good visibility, and little traffic, why not?Call me a Libertarian on this issue. Plus, I like to go fast. Safely, but fast. If you want to put on your pork pie hat and drive like grandpa, that's your business.Meaningful gasoline savings will come when consumers demand-with some help from the Federal Government-cars and trucks that get better gas mileage.So, $4/gallon or gas or not, as the rock and roll song says, Kansans can't drive 55-or 65--and shouldn't be made to.And Kansas Watch can't blog 65. For more on Kansas politics, go to http://kswatch.squarespace.com
Here are the official headnotes to In the Matter of the Application of WESTBORO BAPTIST CHURCH FOR EXEMPTION FROM AD VALOREM TAXATION IN SHAWNEE COUNTY, KANSAS, decided July 25, 2007.To read the full decision, go to http://www.kscourts.org/Cases-and-Opinions/opinions/ctapp/2008/20080725/98443.htmSYLLABUS BY THE COURT1. In an exemption case, all real and personal property in Kansas shall be subject to taxation unless expressly exempted. K.S.A. 79-101. Thus, taxation is the rule, and exemption from taxation is the exception under the Kansas Constitution and statutes.2. The burden of establishing an exemption from taxation is on the party requesting the exemption.3. Constitutional and statutory provisions exempting property from taxation are strictly construed against the one claiming the exemption.4. Under both the Kansas Constitution and K.S.A. 79-201 Second, property used exclusively for religious purposes is exempt from property taxation.5. Not every use of property affiliated with a religious organization may qualify as property used exclusively for a religious purposes.6. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees religious freedom, which is divided into two provisions: the first in the Establishment Clause and the second in the Free Exercise Clause. The basic purpose of the two First Amendment provisions is to insure that no religion be sponsored or favored, none commanded, and none inhibited.7. The Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment secures the right of religious belief and the right to practice and spread one's faith unrestricted by state and federal legislative actions.8. The Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment does not require the state to grant exemptions to religious organizations from generally applicable taxes. Tax exemptions are a matter of grace that state and federal legislatures may disallow as they choose.9. There are three tests that a government regulation or law must pass if it is challenged under the Establishment Clause: (1) the statute must have a secular legislative purpose; (2) the statute's primary effect must be one that neither advances nor inhibits religion; and (3) the statute must not produce an excessive government entanglement with religion.10. State property tax exemptions that benefit religious organizations do not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.11. The necessities of revenue collection through a sound tax system raise governmental interests sufficiently compelling to outweigh the free exercise rights of those who find the tax objectionable on bona fide religious grounds.12. Unlike mere regulatory interaction, state action that involves interpreting and weighing church doctrine violates the entanglement clause of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Moreover, a court should not normally, over the objection of a party, label as nonreligious the statement or actions of that party.13. In a sense, everything a deeply devout person does has a religious purpose. But if that formulation determined the exemption from property taxes, religious identity would effectively be the sole criterion.14. Governments depend upon tax revenues to furnish services essential for the welfare of all people. If churches or individuals could, by self-proclamation avoid the payment of taxes, good order in this country would be in jeopardy.15. Only beliefs rooted in religion are protected by the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.16. Purely secular views are not protected by the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.17. Affairs of government and politics are secular activities.18. In balancing the government's interest in collecting taxes, a government has a right to make a limited inquiry into the activities of a religious organization.19. When a party asserts a belief that seems to be far more the product of a secular philosophy than of a religious orientation, a free exercise claim cannot be maintained.20. The attachment of a religious belief onto an otherwise secular activity, such as politics or a political activity, does not establish a free exercise claim.Appeal from Kansas State Board of Tax Appeals. Opinion filed July 25, 2008. Affirmed.Margie J. Phelps, of Topeka, and Rebekah A. Phelps-Davis, of Phelps-Chartered, of Topeka, for appellant Westboro Baptist Church.Shawn S. Leisinger, assistant of county counselor, and Richard V. Eckert, county counselor, for appellee Board of Shawnee County Commissioners.Before McANANY, P.J., GREEN and CAPLINGER, JJ. For more Kansas political news and views, go to Kansas Watch at http://kswatch.squarespace.com
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Jul/28/elector.pngPollster.com and the Huffington Post have stories today on the electoral map for 2008.If the election were today, Sen. Barack Obama would win handily.Even solidly red state South Dakota is in play, only leaning to Sen. McCain 44.8% to 38.7%.But we Democrats often peak too early. I remember in 1988 when Gov. Michael Dukakis got the nomination that July. His numbers were really good. Only we ended up with Pres. George H.W. Bush that fall.If Sen. McCain continues his Captain Queeg-like ways, I think that his numbers are only going to get worse for him.I least I hope so.For more on Kansas politics, go to Kansas Watch at http://kswatch.squarespace.com
Those of us who were around in the 50's and 60's remember the way teenage school girls swooned over rock stars like Elvis Presley and the Beatles. The articulate versions of Ted Baxter who masquerade as journalists are behaving like school girls around Barack Obama.These phony journalists think that the only requirement for presidents is the ability to mouth the proper political cliches. Obama is saying what the school girls want to hear so they blindly endorse him as the next Wonderful Wizard of Oz, I mean President of the United States. The school girls believe that Obama will move into the White House and make all the problems go away like the Wonderful Wizard of Oz supposedly could do. They don't think it matters that Obama has never actually held a position in which he solved major problems. But then school girls readily accept the claims of adolescent males who say they can do anything.
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Jul/25/Charles_Curtis.jpgThere's lots of chatter about Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' possible selection as Sen. Barack Obama's running mate as the Vice Presidential candidate.Twenty states have had someone with a primary residence in their state be a Vice President. That means 30 have not--a 3/5 majority.New Yorker lead the way with 11 Number Twos. Kansas sent Senator Charles Curtis--also the first and only Native American--as Vice President #31. He still holds the distinction of being the only non-European to be President or Vice President. Her served as Pres. Herbert Hoover's Veep from 1929 to 1933.And of course Gen. Dwight David Eisenhower--you know, that boy from Abeline--served as President.So, is it time for another Kansan to make a little history?For more on Kansas politics, go to Kansas Watch at http://kswatch.squarespace.comAbove: Former Kansas U.S. Senator and Vice President Charles Curtis of Topeka.
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Jul/25/Dr_James_Dobson.jpgBlogger Thomas M. Cavaness (http://tinyurl.com/5ddkf8) from Colorado posted some interesting correspondence between himself and Focus on the Family, Dr. James Dobson's Rightwing religious organization. Of interest to Kansans is what Dr. Dobson' spokesman had to say about Topeka's own Rev. Fred Phelps, he of "God Hates Fags/America" fame. An excerpt from Focus on the Family's spokesman as posted on Thomas' blog: "Finally, with respect to the activities of Reverend Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church, we want it clearly understood that, as far as Dr. Dobson and Focus on the Family are concerned, Rev. Phelps and his group are operating under a serious misunderstanding of biblical Christianity. For a scriptural approach to homosexuality, we direct you to Dr. Al Mohler's commentary titled "Courage and Compassion on Homosexuality" at http://www.albertmohler.com/commentary_read.php?cdate=2006-06-16." While I think it is refreshing to learn that Focus on the Family thinks Rev. Phelps and his group is "operating under a serious misunderstanding of biblical Christianity (BTW, is there any other kind?)," I am on the other hand disappointed that the renunciation wasn't stronger. I think those of us on the Left and the Right can agree that Phelps' and Westboro's tactics are disgusting and reprehensible, no matter where you are on the LGBT issue. Anyway, read the back and forth to get the full scope of this interesting exchange.For more on Kansas politics, read Kansas Watch at http://kswatch.squarespace.com
by Megan as told to Reason McLucusThe story you are about to read is true. Thus locations are kept vague and, of course, names have been changed to protect the innocent.None of us remember who made the suggestion that led to establishment of the clinic, but we remember when it occurred. It was ten years after the Towers fell. We were celebrating Jenny winning the lottery. She didn't win a record amount, but she had the only winning ticket for the $200 some million jackpot.Unfortunately we were also mourning the fact that Dr. Jerkyl (as we called him) had been acquitted of rape. Well, actually the vote was 11 to 1 for acquittal, but the DA decided to just drop the case. We found out later that the juror who voted guilty had been one of Jerkyl's early victims. She didn't recognize him at first because he had shaved the beard and mustache he had worn then. She had forgotten his name. She probably should have told the judge, but she didn't want him to get away with it. She told us about it in confidence later.Dr. Jerkyl wasn't a violent man. He was a date rapist who used his medical knowledge to "persuade" his victims to agree to his "requests". He had partly slipped up with his last victim, or perhaps the drug didn't affect her the same as it affected the rest of us.. At least this time the DA was willing to prosecute the case even if the prosecution wasn't successful.Most of us weren't even sure we'd been raped until we started comparing notes about the dates we didn't really remember that much about. The bad doctor used the most recent date rape drug that caused the victim to be very open to suggestions without any real conscious memory of what she had done. The drug was metabolized quickly and left no trace by the next morning when the victim woke up at home.One side effect of the drug was that the victim might remember parts of the experience in dreams later, but the dream would be combined with other memories, often movie scenes. The dreams tended to be very realistic as if the event had really happened. A particular problem was that the man in the dream was always someone else. The man in my dream was...well let's just say he was a popular actor. When we started talking about our dreams we realized they were too similar to be a coincidence.We might not have figured it out if it weren't for the fact most of us were also employed in the medical profession. We had a couple of doctors along with nurses and even a couple of secretaries like myself. Several in our group knew what the drug could do. It was Mother, our shrink, who finally put all the pieces together. She had gotten involved in rape counseling after her daughter was raped several years earlier. She explained to us that the drug caused the woman to think she was having a sexual fantasy when the event was actually happening. The bad doctor convinced us we were dreaming about having sex with some celebrity when we really having sex with him. Mother suggested he probably had to imagine he was a celebrity to have sex because he felt sexually inadequate.Like I said Dr. Jerkyl used his medical knowledge to help him get away with his crimes. We found out later that not only did he use the latest drug on his victim, he also used a condom to avoid leaving any evidence. He used the latest male contraceptive himself just in case there was a problem with the condom. He gave his victim a contraceptive to further insure a little bundle of evidence didn't pop out nine months later. He had us take a shower afterwards in his shower to wash away any evidence. We discovered this last bit of information when we found the DVD's he had made of us with the concealed camera in the shower. He had recorded all of his rapes and his preparations, but the DVD's had been well hidden and encrypted. If the police had discovered them the following events might not have occurred. But, let's get back to the party. We had been drinking champagne and were getting a little bit giddy. After a while we started throwing out suggestions for ways to deal with Jerkyl."We ought to shoot him.""No, that would be too merciful.""Not where I would shoot him.""Good one!!""How about hanging him up by his ding-a-ling?""His 'ding-a-ling'???""You mean like in that song?""Well, that part of a man's anatomy often makes them act like ding-a-lings.""I'd like to give him a sex change operation.""I heard one time that Viet Cong women used to put a razor blade in a strategic spot before having sex with GI's.""Hey that would be great.""Are you sure about that razor blade story?""My aunt heard about it when she was a nurse in Vietnam, but she didn't treat anyone for it.""My mom is Vietnamese and she said she had heard about that too.""HEY THAT'S A GREAT IDEA!" Jenny shouted."You mean about the razor blade?""No, no, no," Jenny continued. "Let's give the doctor a sex change operation.""No hospital would go along with that unless he consented.""We could drug him like he drugged us.""No, they would detect the drugs.""My hospital would give him the operation for free," Jenny said."Your hospital!" several said at once."Yes, my hospital," Jenny said. "I could set up my own clinic and give him the operation.""Set up a clinic for just one patient?""No, I'd accept other sex change patients, too," Jenny answered. "I'd just make sure he was the first patient.""I know a building you might be able to buy," I said. "The clinic where I used to work is being sold because the doctors there have decided they don't want to work together any more.""But, could we really do something like that?" I asked."Of course," Jenny replied. "Members of our group have a wide range of medical skills. I once helped perform sex change operations, or to use the politically correct term 'sex reassignment surgery'.""I think I could help you attract patients," Heather said. "When I was at U. Mass I had the opportunity to work with stem cells under the Vicante brothers. I think I could use a patient's stem cells to develop a functioning uterus.""Were they working on something like that?" Jenny asked."They were too busy with more vital projects like hearts and kidneys.," Heather replied. "But it wouldn't be any problem. It's just a matter of applying the techniques used for other organs. I might even be able to give the patient ovaries.""Would they be fertile?" Jenny asked."I'm not sure if they'd be fertile or not, but they might allow the patient to experience periods,"Heather replied. "I may need to replace his Y chromosome with an X so the uterus will develop. I'm going to check to see if one of my X's would fit in without making the cells incompatible with his other ones. I may need to borrow one from one of you.""In Jerkyl's case that would almost make me wish doctors hadn't found a way to eliminate PMS," Mother remarked. "So we could perform the operation," Anne said. "What happens afterwards when he, or she, goes to the police?""I think we can prevent that," Mandy, a medicationist, said. "We can do the same thing to him he did to us. There's a new amnesia drug out that could be used to keep him from remembering who he was before the operation. We could even condition 'her' to believe she really wanted the operation.""I've heard about that," Mother said. "Some of my colleagues have been experimenting with it to help patients with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to forget particularly traumatic events. One of the problems is that it sometimes works too well. Patients sometimes forget other personal memories at least temporarily.""That's what I'm counting on," Mandy said."What about his family?" Ellen asked. "Wouldn't they notice he was missing?""He doesn't really have any family," Joan said. "I sold him a $2 million life insurance policy and he put a charity down as beneficiary. He has a sister, but hasn't had contact with her for at least 10 years.""Why would he want such a large insurance policy without any family?" I asked."If he survives until retirement, it will provide a very good annuity," Joan replied.
President Willard Xavier (Brew) Brewster kept hoping someone would wake him up from his nightmare. But, he was reasonably certain he hadn't been dreaming. World War III, or at least a regional version of it, had just occurred.Brew had never wanted to be president. In high school he had planned to enter the "family business", as they called the steel industry, after graduation. The Brewsters didn't actually own any steel mills, but they had been making steel essentially since there had been a steel industry. Brew's great-great grandfather and great grandfather had made steel for Andrew Carnegie himself.Brew's entry into the steel business had to wait for his military obligation to be fulfilled. Military service was another Brewster tradition. His great-great grandfather had helped stop the "Johnny Reb's" at Gettysberg. Brew volunteered for airborne training, a more recent tradition. Brew's father parachuted into France on D-Day with the 101st Airborne.Brew was assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vietnam just in time to participate in a combat jump during Operation Junction City. He later participated in major battles like Dak To and Tet. As a newly promoted buck sergeant Brew earned a silver star and a field commission as a 2nd lieutenant. . His platoon, which was participating in a battalion sized operation, encountered a larger than expected enemy force. Brew, although slightly wounded himself, risked enemy fire to pull the lieutenant and platoon sergeant to safety. He then took charge of the platoon because he was the highest ranking member in the field who was still able to lead. His first priority was to evacuate the wounded, but the nearest clearing where a helicopter could land was a mile away. Part of the lieutenant's map had been damaged when he was wounded, so Brew initially had to rely on his memory of the area they had already passed through.As he was retreating to the clearing, some men who had been cut off from other units joined them. Brew was concerned about staying ahead of the VC because movement was slowed by having to carry the wounded. Brew remembered a position the platoon sergeant had remarked earlier would be a good place for an ambush. The location was on a mound in the jungle next to a slight clearing (too small for a helicopter to land). Two trails entered the clearing from the other side. A single wider trail left the area running below the heavily vegetated mound. They reached the location far enough ahead of Charlie to set up a successful ambush. He sent a small group of men ahead with the wounded. The last men in his column then followed the trail making sufficient noise to convince Charlie that all of his men were still moving. Brew and the others stayed behind to delay the VC. By this time there were about 35 men all together with 4 M-60 machine guns and a mortar. Brew was surprised at the number of VC. They were still coming from the other two trails when the beginning of the column reached the end of the area covered by his men. The ambush with the machine gun fire directed into the clearing and the two trails convinced the remaining VC to break contact and withdraw. Brew and his men quickly checked the 53 dead VC for documents, weapons and ammunition. Subsequent analysis of the documents indicated one of the dead was the VC equivalent of an American colonel.After the wounded were evacuated Brew and his men approached the edge of an old rubber plantation. They noticed VC moving through the tall grass on the other side of the stream that separated the trees from what looked like an area that had previously been farmed. Brew had his men spread out at 10-15 foot intervals along the high bank of the stream. He told them to fire short bursts and then roll over a few times to the right or left before firing again to convince Charlie they were a larger force. Part of the lieutenant's map had been damaged when he was hit. The portion of the map showing this area was undamaged so Brew was able to call in an artillery strike to further disrupt the enemy attack and convince them to withdraw.Brew's performance in the field and the shortage of officers convinced the general to give Brew a field promotion to second lieutenant in addition to the silver star. The idea of a full time military career didn't really appeal to him because of the spit and polish world of military bases outside Vietnam. In fact he extended his tour in Vietnam until his three year enlistment was over to avoid such service. He left Vietnam a captain and continued to serve in the National Guard eventually rising to the rank of Colonel before retiring in 1990.Brew had been an above average student in high school, but not far enough above to qualify for any kind of financial assistance. Savings from his officer's salary and GI Bill money made a college education possible. He decided to study metallurgy to find better ways of making and using steel.The steel industry's financial troubles late in the century caused Brew to decide to run for Congress to try to help. Brew ran on Ross Perot's Reform Party ticket in 1992 because he didn't care for the Republicans and felt the Democrats had abandoned labor in favor of other interest groups. Brew had been a staunch Democrat in his younger days. He supported President Lyndon Johnson even when his administration's handling of the Vietnam war had been criticized. Brew believed LBJ was just getting bad advice from the generals at MACV in Saigon who didn't know what was happening in the real war out in the boonies. However, by the 90's the Democrats had started taking the same positions on the important [economic] issues as the Republicans.His drawing power helped Perot carry his district with Democrat Bill Clinton receiving only a handful of votes. Clinton's poor showing in Brew's district helped President Bush carry Pennsylvania. Brew won in spite of having to devote part of his time to heading a task force set up after Hurricane Andrew. The National Guard called him out of retirement and promoted him to brigadier general to investigate the response to Hurricane Andrew and suggest ways to improve the response to major hurricanes.As a result of the Task Force's recommendation, the National Guard took over the function of the Federal Emergency Management Agency because the National Guard reached disasters first and its personnel could be expanded to cover any size disaster. Military officers had experience in moving personnel, equipment and supplies over a broad geographic areas. Military units were designed to be able to work together. For major hurricanes or flooding, regular military units could be assigned to the National Guard commander.Brew suggested that the National Guard should treat "Mother Nature" as the equivalent of a military adversary. The Guard couldn't prevent Mother Nature from attacking, but in many cases it could anticipate attacks and be in position to respond. Moving personnel into position to respond to a disaster was similar to moving personnel into position to attack an enemy or prevent an attack. A special National Guard hurricane command center was established at Fort Benning, Georgia. When a hurricane threatened the U.S. coast, officers would develop appropriate strategies for the areas where it might make landfall and position troops, etc in the appropriate locations. As in a possible combat situation, troops could be repositioned as estimates of the site of landfall changed. Marine and Coast Guard/Navy National Guard units were established for hurricane prone states. In tornado prone states, the National Guard replaced spring weekend drills with storm mobilization exercises. When storms with the potential to produce tornadoes developed nearby National Guard units mobilized and moved into position following or paralleling the storm's path so they could move into an area hit by a tornado.The California National Guard gained fire fighting equipment, including more helicopters all capable of helping to fight fires. The equipment including a special helicopter carried tank sprayer system that Brew had invented. Groups of helicopters flying in a "parade formation" would produce an artificial rain storm along a fire line. As a member of Congress, Brew initially focused on helping the steel industry. With the full support of both labor and management, he persuaded Congress to enact legislation that would shift the financial burden of supporting steel industry retirees from individual companies to the industry as a whole. Congress enacted a tax on steel products sold in the U.S., including products manufactured outside the U.S. Exported goods were not taxed. Other manufacturing industries eventually decided to switch to a similar approach.He reluctantly agreed to run for vice president in 2004. Party leaders felt he would attract labor and veteran support that would give the party a chance to be the first new party to win a presidential election since the Republicans accomplished that feat in 1860. Brew didn't really consider the possibility of succeeding to the presidency. Presidential candidate Jackie William McKenzie was young and seemed to be in very good health. Jackie was a political science professor at UCLA when he wrote a novel about the first black president. Some of his students, who were also studying film, persuaded him to let them make the novel into a movie when him as the title character. The movie was a surprising success and was even nominated for a couple of Oscars, including the professor for best actor.In early 2000 some of his students persuaded him to run in a recall election of the California governor. One of his former professors who, as a student at Oklahoma Baptist University, had helped his political science professor, David Boren, become governor of Oklahoma, encouraged Jackie to run for California governor. Jackie won easily. The Progressive Party, formerly the Reform Party, decided he would be a good choice for its presidential candidate in 2004. He was only slightly older than Abraham Lincoln was when he was elected president. Jackie had been with the party from the start and had helped Perot do well in California in 1992 and 1996. He convinced California black voters that the Democratic Party was taking them for granted and the Republicans were ignoring them. They needed to vote for a third party to convince both parties to notice them. 70% of them responded by voting for Perot. Jackie also picked up support for the Reform Party from California college students.Jackie inadvertently helped President Bush win reelection in 1992 in a couple of other ways. In late April he had lunch with former classmate Jules Anderson who worked for a firm that sometimes did political ads. Jackie suggested that Democrat Bill Clinton's different explanations for how he avoided military service could be used in a comedy type ad. A cartoon Clinton would use the old Maxwell Smart phrase "would you believe" and then give the first explanation. Then he would say "well, would you believe" and state the second reason and so on depending on how many explanations Clinton had provided by the time the ad aired. Three months later a Political Action Committee supporting Bush hired Jules' firm and decided to use the ad. The ad began appearing in late September and became popular. The PAC even used the concept to mention other Clinton statements.As a graduate student at the University of Texas, Jackie had answered a question on a final exam by suggesting that an unpopular president might be able to use a popular third party candidate, especially an issue-oriented candidate, to improve his chances of reelection. In speeches and campaign ads the President would refer to how he agreed or disagreed with the third party candidate and largely ignore the other major party candidate. By 1992 the professor had become one of Bush's campaign advisors and he persuaded Bush to use the strategy. A late poll indicated that 6% of voters thought that Ross Perot was the Democrat and Bill Clinton the third party candidate.Who knew that a month after taking office in 2005, Jackie McKenzie would die of a previously undetected heart condition. The autopsy indicated an aortic dissection resulting from Marfan's Syndrome. He lacked the obviously long slender arms and legs that often characterizes Marfan's Syndrome, a disorder some historians believe Abraham Lincoln had.
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Jul/24/bogart.jpgI think Sen. John McCain has finally lost it.While Sen. Barack Obama has been overseas tearing up crowds, looking Presidential, and making utterly reasonable foreign policy announcements, Sen. McCain has been blathering on about the "success" of "The Surge" in Iraq, mumbling in Captain Queeg-like incoherence about Sen. Obama missing The Surge and how McCain was for The Surge before The Surge was a twinkle in Pres. Bush's eye, and otherwise carrying on about The Surge while the Iraqs have politely told us to GET THE HELL OUT OF OUR COUNTRY--PLEASE!So, I've taken Humphrey Bogart's famous solioquy from The Caine Mutiny, re-written it, and recast Capt. Queeg as Sen. McCain. Captain Queeg: Ahh, but The Surge that's... that's where I had Obama. He laughed at me and made jokes but I proved beyond the shadow of a doubt and with... geometric logic... that a duplicate key to the Iraq maproom DID exist, and I'd have produced that key if they hadn't of pulled McCain out of action. I, I, I know now they were only trying to protect some fellow Democrats...For more on Kansas politics, read Kansas Watch at http://kswatch.squarespace.com
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Jul/24/jim-ryun-355-mile.jpgSo former US Representative and world-class miler Jim Ryun thinks a slightly peeved female politician calling him "babe" in a debate is an insult?Seems to me a guy who has been through the pain of training for the Olympics and running some of the fastest miles in history would be a little tougher than that. Not to mention a guy who's thrown a few elbows in his own political races.Jim thinks Lynn Jenkins saying "babe" to him is sexist and unprofessional? I don't know Lynn from Adam (or Eve) but if she's like a lot of professional women I know (like my wife, Mrs. Kansas Watch, Ph.D.), he's lucky she didn't verbally cut his ya-yas off with a dull spoon.Is it possible for a grown man and seasoned politician to be any more of a baby? I don't think so.To read more on Kansas politics, go to Kansas Watch at http://kswatch.squarespace.com
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Jul/22/slattery2.jpgFormer U.S. Rep. Jim Slattery, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Kansas, had a far ranging online chat via the Lawrence Journal World and its readers today.I was most interested in how he would address is "lobbying past," particularly after the recent past Pat Roberts ad blasted Slattery for being a-horror of horrors!-a lobbyist.Here's Jim's response to a question on the topic from the chat:Moderator: As I'm sure you can imagine, several members of our audience would like to know about your "past as a lobbyist." So I'll condense those questions into one. 1) What groups did you represent? 2) Did you pay Kansas income taxes on your earnings? 3) How do you respond to those who say a former lobbyist shouldn't be elected? Jim Slattery: 1) I have released a full list of my lobbying clients and the work that I did on behalf of those clients. Many of my clients were Midwest companies that had national and international problems. For example, Midwest Grains in Atchison, my hometown, was my first client. I also did work on behalf of the Kansas City Southern Railroad. I'm very proud of the work I did for those clients because it helped save jobs in the United States. I never took a client whose cause I did not believe in and I did not represent any large oil companies, pharmaceutical companies, or foreign governments. 2) I paid Kansas income taxes on my earnings in Kansas. I have paid income taxes in Kansas every year since I graduated from college. 3) It depends on who I lobbyied for and I never did anything I didn't think was in the public's best interest. I am very proud of the clients that I represented and the work that I did on their behalf. Had I lobbyied on behalf of EADS/Airbus, like Pat Roberts son, that would be a legitimate objection.-----I thought this was a very good start on answering the "accusation" of being a former lobbyist. My next piece of advice for Jim is to go on the offensive against Roberts about him having basically never left Washington, DC for forty years or so. Jim not only has to define himself but define his opponent.Hats off to the LJW and Rep. Slattery for an excellent chat on the issues!
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Jul/21/rh1.jpgPhill Kline is everywhere.Or, it seems, at least in Johnson County and now, Shawnee County.A letter from Republican incumbent Shawnee County District Attorney Hecht called Kline--the former Kansas Attorney General and current Johnson County DA who is also running for relection--as well as Kline's former associate Eric Rucker, who is running against Hecht as "a most dangerous duo."Keeping up with all the goofiness?There's more.Some nefarious post cards from some unknown group have been sent against Hecht. And no one is taking credit.Many counties just beg to find someone to be the district attorney. But in two of Kansas' biggest counties, the citizens might be begging that the lawyers running for office simply talk about how they'll put the bad guys away.For more Kansas political news and views, read Kansas Watch, http://kswatch.squarespace.comPhoto: Robert Hecht, Republican Shawnee County District Attorney.
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Jul/20/l6970413195_4006-1.jpgVote early, vote as often as the software will let you vote! Who gets to face Democratic U.S. Rep. Nancy Boyda in November general election? Will it be Miler Jim Ryun or CPA Lynn Jenkins.Go to Kansas Watch to vote: http://tinyurl.com/62kok2Photo: Nancy Boyda is already walking to November. Will she have to "run" against Jim Ryan (again) or will the numbers "add up" against Lynn Jenkins?
http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2008/Jul/20/sebelius.jpgKansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is rated number on CBS News' latest ranking of potential running mates for Sen. Barack Obama. (Hat tip to Hog House Blog!)An excerpt from CBS:1 Kathleen Sebelius | BioThe buzz around the Kansas governor is only growing. In a recent local TV interview, Obama offered some strong praise for her, saying, "I love Kathleen Sebelius. I think she is as talented a public official as there is right now." Sebelius wouldn't confirm that she's being vetted, but Congressional Quarterly points out she is no longer denying it either.-----Kansas' neighbor Sen. Chuck Hagel, Republican from Nebraska, is #3 with a bullet.Seems to me the biggest problem with Gov. Sebelius is not about the Governor but another woman--Sen. Hillary Clinton. Would her supporters accept a woman not named Hillary? What do you say, my Sunflower friends?