GOP Primary 2018

As I usually do, I share my election picks after my ballot is in the collection box.

Kansas Governor: Without question, I chose incumbent governor Jeff Colyer. There was no way in hell I was going to let current Secretary of State Kris Kobach anywhere near Cedar Crest if I had anything to say about it. If Kobach makes it to general, I will vote for the Democrat – whomever he or she may be. Continue reading GOP Primary 2018

Voting ab initio

As a left-handed right-winger, I mostly toe the GOP line. That does not mean I blindly vote the straight ticket.

For President: I could not vote for Hillary Clinton. I could not vote for Donald Trump. Even though he’s far from perfect, I went with Gary Johnson and will leave it at that. Besides, it’s safe to say that Trump will carry Kansas no matter what I do. Continue reading Voting ab initio

It’s finally over…. until we do it again in 2012

Today is election day, and that means all of the political ads stop… at least until we do it again in 2 years.

Here’s who I picked:

In general, my family owns a glass business and, as such, tend to take more of a pro-business conservative standpoint. Democrats, particularly those in Washington, are seen as hostile to business in general. It should come as no surprise, therefore, to say that I voted for Jerry Moran for the US senate, Lynn Jenkins for the US House, and Sam Brownback for Governor. All three are considered by the national pundits to be heavily favored to win their respective positions.

I crossed the aisle and voted for Chris Biggs for Secretary of State and Steve Six for Attorney General. In my opinion, the Republican candidate for Secretary of State, Kris Kobach, is political poison. His crusade against supposed voter fraud and illegal immigration would be best served as a private citizen, not in the Secretary of State position. As for the AG race, the incumbent, Steve Six, ha managed to keep his nose clean… unlike his two predecessors. He also comes from a well-respected family of jurists. The AG race was also, quite possibly, the nastiest of the races, with PAC groups on both sides going after the other.

The State Treasurer’s race was run cleanly, with both parties running ads about themselves and not even mentioning their main opponent. The pro-buisness conservative in me went ahead and picked the Republican, Ron Estes

Sandy Praeger only had an opponent in the Primary; no democrat ran for her position.

The last two contested positions were both picks for the republicans. For the State House 47th District, we had incumbent Lee Tafanelli. For the Board of Education, I picked Willie Dove. It appears that Dove was a relatively low-profile candidate, but I did not see anything that signaled he was political poison (read: I didn’t see anything in regards to evolution or creationism) I do think that incumbent Janet Waugh has the edge here.

County Commission candidate Lynn Luck was the winner of the GOP primary, and faces no opposition in the general election. Bob Lockwood will be our Township clerk.

On the Judicial Retention issue, the Kansas Commission on Judicial Performance gave all of the judges passing marks. Therefore, I voted Yes on all of the judicial retention questions.

There were also two constitutional amendments on the ballot. The first makes the right to bear arms an explicit individual right, rather than a explicit collective and implicit individual right. The other amendment strikes the words “mental illness” from the section regarding voter disqualification. The legislature has never enacted a measure stripping the mentally ill of the right to vote, and this amendment was actually initiated by the legislature. There is no organized opposition to either issues, and I voted yes on both.

I approved this message…

Today was primary day in Kansas. Here’s who I voted for in the Republican Primary

US Senator: Jerry Moran
Basically, the two leading candidates are fairly close policy-wise. What sealed the deal for me to break for Moran was the way Mike Shanin and Scott Parks of KMBZ felt of the way the candidates handled themselves while being interviewed on their program.

US House of Representative, District 2 – Lynn Jenkins
With Moran and Tihart running for the senate seat, and Dennis Moore deciding not to run for office again, Lynn Jenkins was the only incumbent house member running for the seat they held during the current congress. Dennis Pyle ran on a campaign indicating that Lynn was not conservative enough.

Kansas Govenor – Sam Brownback
Senator Brownback is, of course, the front-running candidate overall in the current race for govenor.

Kansas Secretary of State – JR Claeys
I’ve actually received messages from the Claeys campaign for a while now. I didn’t pay that much attention. However; the front runner, Kris Kobach, doesn’t excite me that much. With all of the hubub regarding the immigration bill, among other things…. Kobach seems to be ‘Damaged goods.’

Kansas Attorney General – Dereck Schmidt
In reality, whoever I vote for in this race didn’t makea difference. Something tells me the incumbent, Democrat Steven Six, will get elected for a full term, especially after the controversy with the two previous AG candidates.

Kansas State Treasurer – Ron Estes
Free Pass to November – Mr. Estes ran unopposed on the Republican Primary.

Insurance Commissioner – Sandy Preager
Basically, this is the de facto insurance commissioner race, with no opposition from democrats or third parties. Her opponent ran on the fact that he is n insurance agent, and that Preager is a RINO. I have not seen a problem in the Insurance Commissioner’s office, however

Knsas House – Lee Tafenelli (unopposed)
Kansas Board of Education – Dawn Weston (unopposed)

County Commissioner – Lynn Luck
Haven’t seen much debate on this one.

On the Kansas Highways front

On Memorial Day, I took a road trip to explore a couple of roundabouts, as well as parts of the new US 69 freeway in Linn County.

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As a Consequence of my raodtrip, I’ve also updated the US 69 exit guide to reflect the actual signage out in the field (I wasn’t *that* far off regarding the final segment of the freeway between Fort Scott and Kansas City.

http://www.route56.com/exitguides/us69.html

I also added a conceptual exit numbering scheme… the new 2009 Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices mandates that all major freeways have milepost-based exit numbering.

In addition, over the past week, there were protests over the removal of a Beaver Dam in the Baker Wetlands done to prevent 31st Street from losing integrity. Therefore, I wrote a Letter to the Editor:

31st Street Decay

Politics and spirit… a reminder of events 10 years ago

A recent set of comments on a spirit squad related email list reminded me of events that happened 10 years ago this month that brought controversy to the KU spirit squad.

In December of 1998, the KU Athletics department decreed that the spirit squads would not be allowed to participate in Nationals. However, the Dance team captain had already made the necessary arrangements to participate at the the ’99 UDA nationals, which by then were about a month away. The elected to ignore the embargo and proceeded as planned, which was publicly posted in the local newspaper. Reaction from the squad was extremely negative. Many of the cheerleaders quit in protest, reducing that squad to 12 by the end of February.

The mother of one of the squad members was nice enough to contact me that Saturday night to let me know how they did. I was also able to greet them when they returned to KCI.

The dance team was also moved from the floor into a reserved section in the south bleachers. Some of the squad believed it was because they were concealing advertising banners for the local phone company. Toward the end of the season, rumors also persisted that the the south bleachers were going to be turned from student seating to reserved seating.

In the end, the coaching staff was dismissed, and the 99-00 dance squad was reduced from two squads of 12 to one squad of 10, with an alternate. The athletic department also sponsored an student support organization called the HAWK club, of which I was a participant. The south bleachers remained student seating, and in fact, the HAWK club was encouraging its members to sit in those south seats. The dance squad was returned to its two squad lineup for the 02-03 season, however, the original name “Crimson Girls” was retired. The new name, “Rock Chalk Dancers,” was introduced in 2004. The squad still anchors the south bleachers while the game is underway, and I doubt they will be moved back to the floor anytime soon.

I didn’t mind the name change, partially because the athletics had been promoting the use of blue over crimson, and because I knew there were male dancers out there. In fact, I have a couple of them in my family. I’m also fine with the south end bleachers; that move may have actually saved them from being turned into reserved seating.

I haven’t been in contact with the squad personally since the fall of ’03, but thanks to Facebook, I have re-established contact with many of the members of the past squads, including the 98-99 squad. Among that squad, a couple of them are still dancing. I’ve also got a nurse and a dentist. Some are married, a few have kids of their own.

The following is a letter I wrote 10 years ago, which was published in the Lawrence Journal-World on February 2, 1999. The letter also notes that Kansas high school cheerleaders and dance teams cannot participate in nationals. As of 2009, this is still the case. However, they can participate in contests where the site is no more than 500 road-miles from the border (this limit in 1999 was 150)

To the Editor,

Among the worlds of business, academia, and sports, there is one common goal: the pursuit of excellence.

Recently, the KU Athletic Department decided that the cheerleaders and Crimson Girls should not be allowed to compete in nationals. Since the spirit squads were willing to raise their own funds, money is not the problem. Therefore, the only plausible reason I could think of is the Athletic Department simply does not want them to go.

When it comes to similar spirit groups on the high school level, the Kansas State High School Activities Association is among the most restrictive associations in the country. The Lawrence High and Free State High pom squads and cheerleaders have been invited to national competitions similar to the ones KU have been attending several times. Because of the rules of the KSHSAA, they have not been allowed to go. In addition, the KSHSAA does not allow groups attending summer camps under their name to be ranked, whereas other camps rank their participants on a regular basis. This leads me to believe that the KSHSAA believes that spirit groups should not be competing, a mentality which I suspect has spread to the KU athletic department.

Why should the Crimson Girls and the pom squads and cheerleaders of Lawrence be allowed to compete? By competing, they have a brass ring to reach for. If a team succeeds and reaches that ring, they become the mark of excellence. If they try and dont quite make it, they would have my utmost respect for reaching for the top. Not reaching for the top, not really competing, means they have no real passion for what they do and would settle for mediocrity.

The Athletic Department and the KSHSAA, whether intentionally or not, are promoting mediocrity by disallowing the spirit squads under their control the opportunity to compete against their peers with little or no reason. Their actions are not good for the students that these organizations are representing because it takes away from their spirit and passion for cheering. Without that passion, their support for the teams they cheer on would be weaker, and that would take away the atmosphere the spirit squads bring to the game they attend.

Richie Kennedy