Kansas, Politics

Schmidt said in a statement that the decision “could effectively and immediately shut off all funding for the judicial branch.” [emphasis mine] Kansas attorney general says judge’s ruling may jeopardize funding for courts, The Wichita Eagle

Please tell me there comes a point where we as citizens recognize how incredibly corrupt and undemocratic this posturing by Brownback’s administration is and demand better. I would genuinely like to see someone defend the principle they’ve decided to deploy to coerce the judiciary into compliance with their plans.

Hat tip to:

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Issues, Kansas

That exercise isn’t in the official process for how the state hands out “extraordinary need” funds. Districts make such requests when enrollment jumps or property tax revenues are affected by falling property tax assessments.

Still, being efficient with tax funds is a good thing, so this request just forced the schools to comply and send a list. So how often did the GOP leaders use those reported efficiencies on Monday to determine whether a district got more money?

Never once. Gov. Sam Brownback’s battle with educators damages Kansas schools again, The Kansas City Star

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Issues, National

Here’s a thought, how about no taxation without representation? The IRS shouldn’t even have the power to redefine what taxable “income” is to begin with. Employment “perks” suddenly cease to be such when you discover your effective tax rate going up, even though you don’t make more money. If they manage this, what’s to stop them from going after other pre-tax contributions?

Currently, free meals for employees, spouses and their dependents are excludable from income under section 119 of the Tax Code if the meals are for “employee convenience” and are provided on the employer’s premises. The IRS is also looking to clarify section 132, which says an employee entitled under section 119 to exclude the value of a meal provided on the premises is treated as having paid an amount for such meal equal to the direct cost of the meal. No more free meals for tech workers? IRS advances project that could tax on-site food perks, Silicon Valley Business Journal

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Kansas, Politics

We’ve written many times before on the strange and damaging policy decisions being made regarding education in the state. So, it was no surprise when the following two articles passed by in the course of a day. I’m trying to decide if we just feign surprise over this or prepare yet one more “I told you” rant. First, from KSHB:

According to data released by Kansas State Department of Education, at least 3,720 Kansas teachers have left the state, retired or taken jobs outside of education after this past school year, a huge jump from the 2,150 who did so just a couple of years ago. Over 3,700 teachers in Kansas have retired or left the state during the summer, KSHB

That was yesterday. Then first thing this morning we get this next piece from The Joplin Globe. It has some more viewpoints on the damage to teaching and education that Kansas is seeing. Again, none of this is surprising to anyone with common sense. And the worst part is it’s much easier to damage than it is to repair. It’s not just students today that will suffer, but the ones that enter school a decade from now. Even if we fix issues and correct policy, we now have a stigma that will take much longer to shake thanks to Brownback.

Pittsburg State University College of Education Dean Howard Smith said enrollment in teacher education, which has trended downward in the past few years, supports that.

“Based on informal data, it’s true. I talk to students when they’re coming in and when they’re graduating,” Smith said. “It appears to be due to a lot of variables: shrinking budgets, additional requirements, and they’re reading that stuff. The posts on Facebook — they see that.” Kansas sees shrinking pool of teachers; Missouri shows gains in out-of-state hires, The Joplin Globe

I think one of the most telling things is that at this time of the year, schools still have around 500 open teaching jobs at a time when there’d only be about 100. In an era where we talk so much about how hard it is to find jobs, especially ones in more specialized areas, it’s a scary bellwether when you see a trend like that where we can’t hardly beg teachers to fill the openings.

Here are plenty more articles:

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Current Events, Kansas, Politics

In an act of defiance of the recent same-sex marriage ruling, many Kansas counties are refusing to (or at least haven’t) issue marriage certificates still. This isn’t at all surprising, actually. It is, however, very sad. First, agree or disagree, the courts are beholden to the SCOTUS decision. There is a process in place if they disagree, but actively defying supremacy in the matter isn’t one of them (this absent a discussion of state nullification or if SCOTUS is guilty of overreach, which is something we could talk about, but doesn’t change what should happen short-term). While the argument over the matter continues, the courts are obligated to operate as instructed in the matter unless further change is made.

But the second issue is the most important: How exactly are we supposed to afford the cost of the lawsuits that will inevitably be filed that the state will absolutely lose? To prove… what? Exactly?

Marriage-Licenses-by-County-6-26-2015b

*NOTE: Chautauqua and Montgomery counties are now issuing marriage certificates as well.

http://eqks.org/meanwhile-in-kansas-the-struggle-continues/

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Culture

So, I saw this today. So much sad. First, we get a film set in Kansas, but of course, it’s about a satanic, mass-murdering cult. So there’s that. But more than that, despite how easily it could have been managed, they filmed the damn thing in LOUISIANA. I know that’s not an uncommon thing for Hollywood, but seriously, how hard is it for our economic development groups to reach out to these people and get their money here? Kansas isn’t exactly an expensive place to operate, all you’d have to do is TRY.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Places_(2015_film)

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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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Culture, Issues, Kansas

At that event Banda’s son apparently contradicted some of the claims made about marijuana. The school then contacted the child protection agency, which then contacted the police. State seizes 11-year-old, arrests his mother after he defends medical marijuana during a school presentation; The Washington Post

The lesson? Don’t challenge authority, stay in line, do what you’re told. Never question what you’re told. Otherwise, the school can have your kid taken away. Doctors can basically prescribe and treat patients with everything from basically heroin, to cocaine, and amphetamines. But don’t you dare consider therapeutic applications for marijuana.

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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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