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Current Events, Kansas, Politics

Budgeting for (by) Dummies

To this point, I haven’t said a whole lot about problems the legislature has been having struggling with our budget. There are a lot of voices in that chorus already anyway, and I don’t have too much to contribute that hasn’t been said. Though, I will say at least a couple things that I do think need said, if only to drive the issues home.

This starts with Furlough Friday. Which was, and now isn’t. The legislature avoided furloughs by… saying there won’t be furloughs. Let me be clear, I hate seeing my friends put into a tough position because of a furlough. BUT, that process is in place for a reason. It’s the line in the sand that forces our representatives to do their job in a timely manner. By lifting that threat, even temporarily, that’s a gift more for them than the workers. Keep in mind, while the bill authorized the employees to work, it does not authorize them to be paid. Because they can’t do that without the budget. So, they basically just told state workers to keep doing what they’re doing, for free, and they’ll get checks in the mail to them for that when they get around to it. And if those workers happen to be part of the university system, they can’t even openly discuss their concerns without fear for their jobs now, thanks, again, to the Kansas Legislature: Continue reading

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Current Events, Kansas, Politics

Hey look, we made Doonesbury!

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Kansas, Politics

Well, if there’s one thing we can count on here in Kansas, apparently it’s that if we have a problem in the state, we can just hide from it and it’ll go away. How do we fix problems if the legislature won’t even talk about them? I thought we elected leaders, not ostriches.

“The intention was to get the bill into conference so that Senate and House negotiators could work on crafting a final fix to the state’s $400 million budget hole.” Kansas House votes not to hold debate on tax plan; The Wichita Eagle

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education
National, Politics

Just Educate

So this topic is a bit broader than just what we’ve gone through here in Kansas, but given our recent history with education, the stuff happening in Texas does have a certain flavor that we know well. What I’m referring to, specifically, is the news that Texas has recently approved the usage of “updated” textbooks. I say “updated,” because of the obvious argument from the detractors that the books are being filled with biased information. And I’ve made no bones about my opinion that we’re already doing plenty to ensure students don’t have the skills necessary for truly powerful higher reasoning.

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Kansas, Politics

“This is about gaining confidence in the results as reported. You’ve got to have a post-election audit to know the error rate and to have confidence in the final results. And we don’t have this in this county,” Clarkson said. “They’ve never looked at those paper tapes and compared them to the tabulated results that the software provides.”
Kobach on Sedgwick County election lawsuit: Time is past, votes are sealed; The Wichita Eagle

All election results should be subject to scrutiny at any time. This is why I believe so firmly in a voting system that operates like the bitcoin blockchain, allowing each vote to have a transaction on the chain that is anonymous, but verifiable against the integrity of the data as a whole. Any election can be verified by anyone with the tools and understanding of how the blockchain works.

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My husband is blind and uses Uber. We sent an email to KS Representatives as there's a vote today that would make Uber operations illegal in the state. This was Rep. John Bradford's response. - ImgurI can’t confirm with absolute certainty that this was a true exchange, so keep that in mind when reading it. The law in question is SB117. For what it’s worth, Rep. Bradford is on Twitter.

EDIT: Here’s the discussion on the issue taking place at Reddit.

 

Kansas, Politics

Ladies and Gentlemen, Kansas Legislators

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John Green nailed a discussion on the problems of health care spending quite a while back in a video many have seen. This followup is really interesting, and it’s worth appreciating the balanced look at what the law has and hasn’t done, and more specifically, how it isn’t really solving the problem.