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.

You know, I’m beginning to hate politics

Last night, I got into a major argument with someone via chat.

This person has had significant health problems, is unemployed and uninsured, and obviously doesn’t have much financial resources.

And he says that people like me want to see him get sick and die, and that hate minorities and the poor.

To me, those are fighting words. I went into a war of words with this person, and lost badly.

I feel like I’m in the minority at times, but I believe that routine medical visits should be gravitated more towards a “pay as you go” system, with insurance reserved for major issues that cannot normally be accounted for.

I also believe that the medical profession has the obligation to treat their patients without regard to their ability to pay. There should NEVER be an excuse for not seeking treatment.

In Lawrence, in fact, there is a place that specializes in the poor and uninsured. They’re called Health Care Access. They’re on Facebook. And Twitter.

If only there was a way to get my “combatant” in there.

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.

https://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

Sarcoxie Township is definitely GOP territory

Once again, I present my not-so-surprising voting decision.

POTUS: McCain. In a previous post, I noted that the a presidential picking website generally favored McCain as my pick. If there’s any other reason for me to choose McCain over Obama, it is this: The National Federation of Independent Business gave Senator McCain a rating of 100 in its 110th (2007-2008) Pre-Election Congressional Report, versus a 50 for Obama. The NFIB determines the ratings of its candidates using information gathered by surveying its members… people like my uncle Marty. Basically, McCain is considered better for small buisness than Obama.

US Senate: Pat Roberts. I find it somewhat amusing that Jim Slattery is riding on the Obama style change Bandwagon. Slattery was our US representative in the 2nd District for many years, then ran unsucessfully for Govenor in 1994. (That election was basically called at 7:01 CT) Outside of Douglas County, Senator Roberts remains popular. He also received a 100 from the NFIB.

US House – District 2: Lynn Jenkins. Although Boyda received a respectible grade from the NFIB (70), the fact is, the rest of her party, particulary the incumbant speaker of the house, generally have low marks.

State Senate – 3rd District: Roger Pine. His opponent, Rep. Tom Holland, has been running attack ads, to which the incumbant Senator has found unworthy of response.

State Rep – 47th District: Republican Lee Tafanelli is running unopposed

County positions – All GOP, all unopposed.

Sales Tax – 1/4 cent for County matching KPERS. Yes.

Judicial Retention – None of the Judges that serve my district have run into contraversy. I voted to retain them all.

Other issues of interest
Lawrence Sales Tax – since I no longer live in Lawrence, this issue is not on my ballot. There’s currently a ballot measure for major infrastructure projects and for the transit service. I support the infrastructure measure, but oppose the transit measure on the grounds that, based on ridership and demographics, a fixed route bus system is *not* an nessecity for Lawrence and should be decommed.

JoCo question 1: Johnson County has a ballot measure to switch Judges from an appoint and retention system to direct election. This should be interesting

JoCo question 2: This question is on a sales tax to fund research development in cooperation with the state universities.

Kansas City Light Rail: This one is similar to the “T” question in Lawrence. Those opposed to the Light Rail basically argue that the demographics are not present to support rail transit just yet. I do believe, however, that the use of rail transit should be considered in cooperation with busses and automobiles.

Presidential picks

I took this little survey at matchpresident.com to see how it turned out.

No big surprise, a plurality of the issues go to McCain. Some selections go to Bob Barr or Chuck Baldwin, and one issue was marked as Obama… that particular question might (social issues) may have been badly worded.

Random acts of politics…

Environment: The fact that CO2 levels have been higher than they have been in mensurable history is based on solid evidence. Human activity is one of the few variables that affect CO2 levels that could be responsible for such a spike. The “greenhouse gas” properties of CO2 have likely been proven, and reproduced in chemistry labs.

My family lives out on a private lake/subdivision 10 miles north of Lawrence and 5 miles from the nearest town (that would be McLouth, our city of record) and a fairly decent size house to boot. Not exactly the smallest “carbon footprint.” I read Tim Miller’s column in the Lawrencian the other day regarding global warming. It would seem to me, based on Mr. Miller’s writings, he would have this family move out of this house, tear down the entire neighborhood, force all of us to move back to town into smaller quarters and, to boot, compel us to use public transportation. I also see such a notion just be reading the title of Al Gore’s little documentary, i.e., heavy on the “Inconvenient” in An Inconvenient Truth.

Surely there is a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions without compelling people to give up a standard of living that they have worked to attain.

New address… New Polling Place

With the move to a new house, and a new county, there’s a new polling place.

The polling place for Sarcoxie Township is at an old one-room schoolhouse just north of Lawrence. They also use a optical scanning method pretty much the same as the one in Douglas County.

For the Republican Primary, there were only two contested seats, plus one ballot question. Here’s how I voted.

US Congress, KS-2: Lynn Jenkins
The Republican Primary has been somewhat contested between the incumbent state Treasurer and former Congressman Jim Ryun over their respective service records. I choose Jenkins mainly because I wanted to vote out the Democratic incumbent, and I doubt the person the was previously defeated would be able to re-claim his seat.

County Attorney: Caleb Stegall
The Kansas Court district Jefferson County is in is shared with neighboring counties, each county having its own attorney. In the larger counties, such as Shawnee, Douglas, Johnson, and Wyandotte, the court district is contiguous with the county, and therefore, they are considered District Attorneys.

Stegall’s campaign against his opponent, the incumbent county attorney, mainly challenged his effectiveness. I did not see any campaign material from his opponent.

Sales Tax Issue: Yes
Jefferson County also had a sales tax issue on the docket. It was a 1% tax with a 6 year Sunset clause for road improvement. There was no campaign material for or against, and the tax is very likely a renewal of an existing tax issue.

All other positions on the ballot were unopposed, except for township treasurer, which did not have a Republican candidate.