Thursday, October 27, 2005

Interesting Poll on Kansas Politics

Survey USA has some interesting 50 state polls up. I've extracted some of the results for Kansas.
Statewide July 2005 October
The Right Direction 42% 33%
The Wrong Direction 52% 62%

Wichita Region
The Right Direction 41% 30%
The Wrong Direction 50% 65%

Eastern Kansas
The Right Direction 41% 34%
The Wrong Direction 53% 61%

The Right Direction 30% 22%
The Wrong Direction 59% 73%

The Right Direction 20% 13%
The Wrong Direction 74% 82%

The Rights Direction 66% 58%
The Wrong Direction 30% 37%

Approval Ratings for Kansas Senators October 2005
Approve Disapprove
Sam Brownback 50% 43%
Pat Roberts 51% 39%

Brownback ranks as the 77th popular Senator among his constituents.Robets as 71st

Approval Ratings for Governor Sept 2005
Kathleen Sebelius 59% 34%

GOP Convert to Challenge KS AG Phil Kline

From Daily Kos:

Paul Morrison, Johnson County's Republican district attorney for the last 16 years, is expected to announce today that he is a candidate for Kansas attorney general. 

Morrison will switch parties and run as a Democrat, according to a political source who has spoken to Morrison. Two other sources confirmed his decision [...]

The prospect of Morrison's entry into the attorney general's race caught many politicians by surprise.
Running as a Democrat was even more surprising.
"I'm trying to think of when I've heard of something like this," said Kevin Yowell, an Overland Park political consultant. "I don't know that I've ever heard of this around here. It's not uncommon for a Democrat to switch to Republican. But for an entrenched officeholder to leave the GOP to become a Democrat, I am just stunned."

Morrison's party switch is different in that he is an elected official, but there have been some prominent party switchers. Three come to mind. First, Congressman Dr. Bill Roy who represented the 2nd District,centered around Topeka) from1971-1975 and who nearly beat Bob Dole in the 1974 Senate race. Second, Governor Joan Finney, who switched parties and was elected as State Treasurer before rising to the highest office. Third, and I'm not so sure about this, but I think that George Docking also switched parties before he was elected Governor in the 1950s.

Here's Morrison's announcement speech.

And his website.

Friday, October 21, 2005


Via Harry's Place

The Iranian Ambassador, Dr Seyed Mohammed Hossein Adeli spoke at this weekend's the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament’s Annual Conference:

"He will be giving Iran's perspective on the current controversy around the Iranian civil nuclear power programme and will also be answering questions in a special lunchtime slot at 1.30pm on Saturday 15th."

This is odd in two ways:

1. CND's argument certainly used to be that civil nuclear programmes should be opposed because their essential function was the production of the raw materials for nuclear weapons. Indeed, they used to hold marches against them. Nowadays, so it seems, CND is not so sure. The only hint on the press release that anybody might doubt that Iran's ambitions are limited to a civil nuclear power programme is the recognition that some people might find Iran's recent conduct just a little bit controversial.

2. The second odd thing about the invitation is well expressed by the Worker-communist Party of Iran:

In July this year two gay teenagers – one under 18 at the time of arrest – were publicly hanged in the Iranian city of Mashad for having a sexual relation.

Last August 16-year-old Atefeh Rajabi was hanged in the city of Neka because she had slept with a man she was not married to.
In July 2001 31-year-old Maryam Ayoubi was stoned to death in Evin Prison in Tehran for sex outside marriage…

These are just a few examples of the unbelievably horrific atrocities going on in Iran. In Iran you are arrested, flogged, tortured and executed for being a socialist, a communist, a union organiser, a women’s rights activist, a dissident student, an atheist, a non-Muslim or just for having ‘illicit’ sex. Tens of thousands of political dissidents have been executed for simply not wanting this fascistic regime.

Today a spokesman for such a regime is to speak at the CND conference! This is an outrage! It is an insult to the people of Iran who are struggling to get rid of this brutal regime. It is a slur on the memory of the countless victims of this murderous regime.

We condemn the CND’s invitation of this human rights’ abuser to its conference.

In short, instead of demonstrating against the Ambassador of a nuclear proliferator and a serial human rights abuser, CND feted him as an honoured guest.

When protestors shouted "fascist" at the ambassador, they were expelled from the meeting. Sitting in the audience was Walter Wolfgang who became the octonegarian poster boy of the farther left when he was thrown out the Labour Party conference for heckling Tony Blair. Apparently, he had no trouble with protestors being thrown out of the CND conference or the CND playing footsie with one of the planet's most brutal regimes.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Bush Popularity Falls in Kansas and Nation

Survey USA has released its latest 50-state survey on Bush's approval ratings. In Kansas only 43 percent approve of the job Bush is doing, while 54 % disapprove. That's a 17 percentage point negtative swing since July.

There areonly six states where a majority approve of Bush. Kansas ranks 15 in its level of support for the President.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Students, Parents Protest Abortion Protest

Students protest abortion protest

Kids object to church's use of grisly poster on campuses


Sunday, the protesters were protested. For three hours, a group organized by West High School students demonstrated outside Wichita's Spirit One Christian Center. The students were expressing their displeasure about the abortion protest the church supported earlier this week at the high school.

Church members responded Sunday with a counter-demonstration. In all, about 300 people were involved, though it was difficult to tell how many were on each side.

The demonstration was sparked by a graphic picture of an aborted fetus that appeared at the abortion protests at West High School and Wichita State University last week.

(photo by Stuart Elliott)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

I'm for the underdog and Gretchen, too

Gene over at Harry's Place catches an odd comment in the Washington Post's review of Gretchen Wilson's new CD, "All Jacked Up." . The Washington Post's Britt Robson refers to Wilson's song "Politically Uncorrect" as "reactionary."

Here's the lyrics.

I'm for the low man on the totem pole
And I'm for the underdog God bless his soul
And I'm for the guys still pulling third shift
And the single mom raisin' her kids
I'm for the preachers who stay on their knees
And I'm for the sinner who finally believes
And I'm for the farmer with dirt on his hands
And the soldiers who fight for this land


And I'm for the Bible and I'm for the flag
And I'm for the working man, me and ol' Hag
I'm just one of many
Who can't get no respect
Politically uncorrect

I guess my opinion is all out of style
Aw, but don't get me started cause I can get riled
And I'll make a fight for the forefathers plan
And the world already knows where I stand

Nothing wrong with the Bible, nothing wrong with the flag
Nothing wrong with the working man me & ol' Hag
We're just some of many who can't get no respect
Politically uncorrect
Politically uncorrect.

Like Gene, I don't see what makes these lyrics "reactionary." Seems to me that "preachers who stay on their knees" sounds like a dig at Falwell, Robertson, and their ilk.

Gene concludes by asking "is there a connection between a presumably well-educated and enlightened reviewer calling Wilson's song reactionary and John Kerry's loss to George W. Bush last November?" I think there just might be.

In fact, I think progressive Democrats ought to be thinking about how to appeal to the "Gretchen Wilson" voters.

Kansas Right Wing Ups the Ante

The theocratic right has been making some new pushes in Kansas in the last week. The anti-abortion Operation Save America brought their protests to Wichita high schools intimidating students and alienating parents. Not to be topped, the State Board of Education hired a new state Education Commission, who has no experience teaching or adminstering education or a large scale institution. The new Commissioner is an opponent of additional funding for schools and an advocate of vouchers.

Here's the Wichita Eagle report on the protests.

Protesters from Operation Save America gather outside West High on Thursday and plan to rally at another school today.

Abortion protesters carrying banners and signs, handing out leaflets and talking through loudspeakers greeted students at West High School on Thursday morning.

The protest riled students, parents and neighbors alike -- but it broke no laws, Wichita police said.

"They were out exercising their First Amendment rights of free speech," Deputy Police Chief Tom Stolz said of Operation Save America, which is holding what it calls a "regional event" in Wichita through Saturday. "People have a right to picket and protest, and they're exercising their right."

The Eagle slammed the BOE in a Sunday Editorial

Bob Corkins is Kansas' education commissioner -- five days later, the 6-4 hiring decision by the Kansas State Board of Education still confounds.

How could someone as lacking in credentials as Corkins be chosen to replace someone as revered across the state and ideological spectrum as Commissioner Andy Tompkins?

The problem isn't with Corkins. He is a smart guy. Rather, the problem is with the state board's majority conservatives, who ended a torturous hiring process by flouting the board's own search guidelines, running off a national advisory group, and hiring somebody apparently based on ideology alone.

No education diplomas or classroom experience. No understanding of a complex state agency with 200 employees and oversight responsibility for 300 school districts, 450,000 students and $3 billion. No real grasp of the deepening demands of the federal No Child Left Behind law or the best strategies for closing the achievement gap between white and minority students. No management experience. And no business landing a $140,000-a-year job as Kansas' education czar and advocate.

Less government is a noble cause. Government needs more people who espouse and practice it. But Corkins was the wrong guy for a crucial job, and the board's decision was an insult to the state's local school boards, teachers, parents and schoolchildren, as well as to common sense.