Kansas Wants to Fund Discrimination, Missouri Ready to Follow

By: Saturday March 21, 2015 10:00 am

For years, California has had the reputation of being the incubator of policies that eventually become national, from environmental concerns to social concerns to economic concerns. But in the flyover land of Kansas, Sam Brownback is the leader of an ultra-conservative Republican party, purged of its merely-conservative elements. They control the legislature in Topeka, and are bent on taking that mantle of national trendsetter from California. Across the border in Missouri, the GOP-dominated legislature is turning the state motto on its head, by looking west and saying “show me which far-right policies to enact next,” rather than saying “show me the proof that they work.”

Tax cuts have always been high on the list of priorities for the Kansas GOP, and while they wait for those to magically work (don’t hold your breath, say the economists), they’re turning to laws to promote state-sanctioned and state-funded discrimination.

 

Arthur Laffer is Not Laughing at Sam Brownback’s Budget

By: Saturday January 24, 2015 10:00 am

An anonymous tipster called me on a burner phone, and directed me to a row of round hay bales in a field outside Topeka. “Walk down the row, and when you find a pile of manure, look for an envelope. I think you’ll be very interested in what’s inside.”

Curious, I pushed back a bit. “Lots of things might interest me. What’s in that envelope that’s so special that I should go looking for a pile of manure?”

The voice on the phone laughed, hard. When it calmed down, the voice said “What’s in the envelope? Two things. I won’t tell you what the first one is,” — the voice snickered — “but the second one is a bill submitted to the State of Kansas from Arthur Laffer.” . . .

Brownback Turns Harder to the Right, as if That Were Possible

By: Saturday October 18, 2014 9:15 am

The recent ruling by the Supreme Court not to take up the various appeals courts’ rulings on marriage equality cases has forced Sam Brownback into a corner. He’s in a big fight for reelection, with moderate Republicans bailing on the ultra-conservative GOP in Kansas. He faced a choice between two electoral strategies: (1) tone down the rightwing rhetoric, and reach out to the disaffected GOP moderates, or (2) write off the moderate vote and focus on ginning up the far right to boost their turnout numbers in November.

Brownback has gone with #2. Hard. And it’s not a pretty sight . . .

More Troubles in Kansas for the Wizards of Oz

By: Saturday September 20, 2014 9:15 am

The November 2014 election campaign in Kansas wasn’t supposed to work like this. Four years ago, Sam Brownback swept into the governor’s mansion, Kris Kobach became secretary of state, and the GOP in Topeka began to enact a sweeping agenda made up of every item on every conservative’s wish list. Two years ago, when a number of Republican state senators blocked a few of the most extreme items on that list, conservatives primaried them out of the legislature. But today, Brownback, Kobach, and Senator Pat Roberts are in deep, deep electoral trouble. These Wizards of Oz have only one campaign strategy open to them, and it’s not one that has a lot of success in Kansas . . .

Chickens Coming Home to Roost in Kansas

By: Saturday July 26, 2014 9:00 am

Just weeks ahead of the Kansas primary, embattled incumbent Senator Pat Roberts has a come-to-Jesus phone conversation with embattled Governor Sam Brownback . . .

Double Drought in Kansas Brings Tears to Brownback

By: Saturday June 14, 2014 10:30 am

The numbers don’t look good, either in the rain gauges around the state or the state balance sheets in Topeka.

Poor Sam Brownback.

Pope Francis Seems to Be Making Republicans Nervous

By: Saturday November 30, 2013 9:09 am

Pope Francis has a few interesting words on the joy of the gospel, juxtaposed with the joy of The Market. He throws around phrases like “no to the new idolatry of money” and “the worship of the ancient golden calf has returned.” He uses words like “ruthless” and “dictatorial” and “tyranny” to describe market players who embrace “trickle down theories”, and words like “inequality” and “exclusion” and “throw away culture” to describe the problems the world faces as a result of economic injustice.

No response yet from Paul Ryan, Sam Brownback, or the rest of the GOP catholics, who’ve been worshiping at the feet of prophets like Arthur Laffer for years.

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back in Kansas Over Abortion

By: Saturday April 6, 2013 1:30 pm

Just two days after the opening of the South Wind Women’s Center, a medical clinic in George Tiller’s former office space that was set up to handle the full range of women’s reproductive health needs (including abortion), the state legislature of Brownbackistan approved a sweeping anti-abortion, anti-women, anti-science bill. Once Brownback signs the bill — and he WILL sign it — doctors will be forced to present women with medically inaccurate information. Tax laws were changed to make abortions more financially onerous, and the rightwing Theocons of the legislature have enshrined fetal personhood into state law with a “life begins at conception” provision.

And before you folks outside of Brownbackistan simply laugh at the goings-on in Topeka, ponder this: Sam Brownback IS going to run for president in 2016, and he’ll have both fiscal and social conservatives solidly behind him for what he’s been able to push through the state legislature. Today he’s in Topeka, but make no mistake: he wants to live in that nice little white house in DC.

Brownback and the Problem of Facts

By: Saturday January 12, 2013 10:00 am

In the governor’s mansion in Brownbackistan, there is wailing and gnashing of teeth this morning. In the offices of many school districts across the state, there is much rejoicing. The reason? A state district court ruled that the schools of Kansas have been shortchanged by the ultraconservatives in the state legislature of the constitutionally-required money to provide a decent education to the children of the state.

The way the district court made its point was to point repeatedly to those pesky things that Stephen Colbert rightly noted have a liberal bias: facts. And they pointed them out with great style and elan, taking deliberate aim at the Governor and his minions.

Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and the Pup Tent Party of Brownbackistan

By: Saturday August 11, 2012 9:00 am

Mitt Romney is scared, and his choice of Paul Ryan to be his VP proves it.

What scares him isn’t Obama or Obamacare or higher taxes. What scares him isn’t Harry Reid’s comments about him not having paid taxes over the last decade (that’s more embarrassing than frightening). What scares him isn’t unions or liberal SuperPacs or progressive think tanks who will run ads against him.

What scares him is Kansas. And it scares him a lot.

Sam Brownback just purged the Kansas GOP of anyone who gets in his way, and Romney doesn’t want that to happen to him. But how to avoid it? Maybe naming Romney’s former legislative director as his VP will help.

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