Saturday, May 2, 2015

Earth to Kansas: "You Have a Problem...!!!" Seriously, An Awful Problem

Gov. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas): Ultra-Conservative on the road to ????
(doom and gloom does come to mind)

Empty thinking could equal empty classrooms
                                               (possible result of Brownback's latest move)

Major Update (original post follows): This story via Yahoo news shows how common average hardworking Americans struggling see the harshness of the GOP and their budget schemes - yes, schemes.

TOPEKA, KS (AP) — A waitress who left a message for Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback on his receipt at a barbecue restaurant said she thought it was more important to promote education funding than to get a tip. Chloe Hough of Lawrence was working her last shift Saturday night at Boss Hawg's in Topeka when she waited on the governor. The Topeka Capital-Journal reported here said that she later posted his receipt on Facebook, showing the line for the tip crossed out and the phrase “Tip the schools” written beside it. Ms. Hough declined to say how Brownback reacted to the receipt. A call to the governor's spokeswoman on Sunday was not immediately returned.
She also stressed that she had not discussed her plans with any manager or the owner of the restaurant, where she had worked for about a year, saying, in part: “It's a great restaurant and I didn't do it to hurt them.”
She also said that education funding is important to Hough because her sister receives special education services and because she believes it encourages social mobility. Her sister she also said, “… has lost so many dedicated educators who've been cut due to budget cuts," she said. "I think it should matter to everyone.”

So, Gov. Brownback: Meet a real person, not a harsh GOP-Conservative concept, that is hurt and impacted by your harsh impersonal budget policies:

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (John Hanna/AP); Chloe Hough (CBS Philly)
Gov: Meet a Hardworking Waitress. Ms. Hough: Meet the Gov, hard-nosed on education 
BACKGROUND THAT MS. HOUGH REFERS TO: Gov. Sam Brownback signed a bill in April that (1) dropped the state's old school funding formula and substituted it with block grant funding; now (2) school districts have reported their funding was cut and are anticipating further budget cuts in the next few years, and (3) just recently it was reported that at least six school districts in Kansas plan to close a few days early this month because of budget concerns.

I add: GOP standing with the kids, their education and future, eh? Um … not in Kansas anymore, Toto!!!  

Original Post from Here: Historical look back at Kansas, once known as “Bleeding Kansas, or Bloody Kansas, or the Border War" was a series of violent political confrontations in the United States involving "anti-slavery Free-State/pro-slavery Border Ruffian elements" that took place in the Kansas Territory and in some neighboring towns of Missouri between 1854 and 1861.  

Now, today, we see ultra-conservatives in charge there who appear to want to drain the last ounce of blood from the good citizens there. This letter from a Topeka, Kansas citizen says what I suspect a lot people there are saying about Kansas over the last few years. Her letter appeared in the Capital Journal.com on March 10, 2015 in total here:  

“There was a time in our country when citizens of the deep South didn’t like to admit where they were from. They were ashamed of their education standards and the integrity of their state leaders. They understood that their states couldn’t attract business because of the far-right morals of their leaders.”
“Surely, it is time for our Legislature to use its authority to rein in the ultra-conservative performance of our governor.”
“Gov. Sam Brownback should make decisions based on what is good for all the citizens. His actions shouldn’t manifest any personal beliefs or agendas.”
“I don’t want to be embarrassed to admit I’m from Kansas. Politics shouldn’t be Democratic versus Republican. The actions of our politicians should be based on good judgment versus lunacy, phobias and lies.”  /s/ Janice Supon, Topeka
First, who is Gov. Sam Brownback – let’s take a quick look – this short rundown from Rolling Stone:
Sam Brownback: The 56-year-old, a regular sight on Capitol tours, today happens to be wandering the corridor near his second-floor office. He's holding a coffee mug and sporting one of his signature sweater vests – such pleasingly Capra-esque touches that one wonders if a wardrobe consultant was involved – and when his eyes alight upon an unfamiliar face, he beams and gives the visitor a pleasant nod.

Just a few years ago, Brownback seemed washed up. A devout Catholic who attends mass several times a week, he'd built a following among the Christian right as one of the most socially conservative U.S. senators of the Bush era, but his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008 proved an embarrassing folly. Unable to raise money or make a dent in the polls after religious conservatives flocked to Mike Huckabee, Brownback wound up limping from the race before the first votes were even cast in the Iowa caucus.

But apparently, the notion of wielding executive branch power had become appealing. Two years later, he handily won the governorship, part of the class of Republicans elected in 2010 on a Tea Party-driven wave of anti-Obama sentiment.

Once in office, Brownback surprised critics and supporters alike with the fervor of his pursuit of power, pushing what reporter John Gramlich of Stateline described as perhaps the “boldest agenda of any governor in the nation like: (1) gutting spending on social services and education, (2) privatizing the state's Medicaid system, (3) undermining the teacher's union, (4) becoming the only state to entirely abolish funding for the arts, (5) boasting that he would sign any anti-abortion bill that crossed his desk, and – most significantly – (6) pushing through the largest package of tax cuts in Kansas history. His avowed goal is to (7) eliminate the state income tax altogether, a move that many predict will torpedo the budget and engender even more draconian cuts in spending.”

Pretty harsh words and from what I have read all accurate and the blow back has been harsh, too as the news has shown recently. Now Kansas’ latest move or stunt or whatever one chooses to call it has this headline: “Will the Kansas Board of Ed vote to de-professionalize teaching?”

A lot of details from here (NEA.org), in part:  

Kansas educators and parents are speaking out against a dangerous proposal being considered by the state board of education that would remove restrictions on hiring untrained, unlicensed individuals as teachers. The proposal would allow administrators to hire unlicensed individuals for schools that are part of the Coalition of Innovative School Districts. While superintendents insist the required waivers would be used sparingly, there are virtually no limitations on how the waivers could be employed in the proposal currently on the table.

Here are some top concerns the Kansas National Education Association has about the proposal, according to KNEA legislative director Mark Desetti. In the current proposal: *click the NEA link for more good reading to see the dangerous ground for sure.

Check back later or research the Kansas effort on your own … main point: when conservatives get power, they go nuts and can't handle it.

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