Wednesday, May 21, 2008

An Example for Congress

As appeared in the May 15 issue of the Topeka Capital-Journal:

Letter: Example for Congress

On May 3, Rep. Nancy Boyda visited Valley Falls as part of her 2008 listening tour called "Congress on Your Corner." She is back in the 2nd District nearly every weekend, listening to what folks have to say and helping people get results from federal bureaucracies where difficulties persist.

I am always amazed how hard-working and genuine she is. In Valley Falls, Rep. Boyda and our community had in-depth and candid discussions on issues ranging from supporting veterans, continuing middle-class tax cuts, immigration policies that are enforced and work, sound trade policies that strengthen the United States and difficulties within Social Security and health care.

I was thoroughly impressed when Rep. Boyda stated that she and her husband, Steve, declined the stellar health care plan offered to her as a member of Congress. Instead, they pay gobs of money every month out of their own pocket. The reason: they couldn't accept this benefit in good conscience when so many of us here in the district struggle to obtain and/or pay for coverage. This is a bold example that other members of Congress should follow.

After the session ended, townspeople had an opportunity for one-on-one time to get help battling bureaucratic obstacles. Then, she was off to Fat Jack's on Broadway for ice cream and antique browsing.

She had a few minutes before heading to her next stop, so she stopped by the home of a Valley Falls woman who has been battling health problems and didn't have the strength to make it to the event.

What an excellent example Nancy Boyda is.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

It's anyone's game

No one will claim that Jim Slattery has a walk in the park, however, the latest Rasmussen Reports' survey of Kansas voters found Roberts leading Slattery by only 52% to 40%. Yes, in November 52% equals a clear victory for any candidate, but this is May.

Slattery leads Roberts by three points among unaffiliated voters. Each candidate can expect support from their own party's base, but from an ideological perspective, the candidates are tied at 46% among moderate voters.

So what does this all mean? It's anyone's game in November.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Kline for DA?

Both the Kansas City Star and are running stories of a possible Phill Kline run for JoCo DA. And just when the people of Kansas had come to believe he was history... Not only did Kline lose statewide in 2006, he lost Johnson County. It was the JoCo GOP who "elected" him to complete Paul Morrison's DA term. Voters as a whole were outraged.

Since becoming JoCo DA, KCTV (Kansas City's CBS affiliate) aired an investigative report on Kline. Turns out, he didn't really want to be back in JoCo. Instead, Kline and his family remained residents of Topeka, in violation of Kansas statute.

When he wasn't refusing KCTV-5 access to the courthouse (in retaliation), Kline was waisting time and tax dollars to further his personal crusade against legally obtained abortions. This month, the Kansas Supreme Court unsealed documents which revealed that Kline had spent much of 2007 in Topeka responding to two lawsuits filed by former AG Morrison and Planned Parenthood, who sued Kline to retrieve evidence.

With all these points against him (and that's only a year and a half's worth), should Kline run? Why not? Already in the race are Republican Steve Howe and Democrat Rick Guinn, former Johnson County prosecutors. Howe has secured most of the heavy endorsements on the Republican side, ensuring that to be in the general election, Kline will likely file unaffiliated. If that splits the Republican base in JoCo...well, you can just imagine those November results.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Step Up for the GI Bill

Today, hundreds of Young Democrats and young veterans are asking Congress to fulfill the promise we make to always stand by every man and woman who puts on the uniform in service to our nation. Young Democrats are urging immediate action on the Webb-Mitchell "Post 9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act," a bill that will expand educational benefits for the men and women who serve in our military.

"As both a student and a veteran, I know first-hand how important veterans' benefits, especially educational benefits, are to our service men and women coming home from overseas," said Cole Hickman, an Army Reserve Sergeant and Iraq war veteran who serves as Chair of the Young Democrats of America's Veterans and Military Affairs Caucus and President of the Young Democrats of Arizona. "This new 21st Century G.I. Bill will give America's newest veterans the support they need to become engines of our economy, improve our communities, and continue their service to our nation while at home, just like the greatest generation did after World War II."

"An investment in our veterans is an investment in America. For less than the cost of fighting in Iraq for one week, this legislation significantly expands benefits to our veterans," said Young Democrats of America President David Hardt. "We urge Congress to include this important legislation in the Iraq war supplemental bill."

Currently, educational benefits for veterans are dispensed based on a law designed for peace-time service -- a law that insufficiently handles all the veterans currently serving in a time of war.

The 21st Century G.I. Bill will:

  • Make benefits available to all members of the military who have served on active duty since 9/11/2001, including activated reservists and National Guard.
  • Provide benefits for tuition, housing, and books for up to 36 months of education for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.
  • Link amount of benefits to amount of time served on active duty.
  • Increase amount of time after leaving active duty to collect educational assistance to fifteen years compared to ten.
  • Allows additional payments for tutorial assistance as well as licensure and certification tests.
  • Create a new program in which the government will agree to match, dollar for dollar, any voluntary additional contributions to veterans from institutions whose tuition is more expensive than the maximum assistance provided.

Six ways the GOP can save itself (but won't)

I don't mind sharing these tips (provided by Politico) because I know the GOP will ignore them. The KS GOP failed to over-ride a veto on coal, something their leadership made a top priority. Since November of 2006, multiple lawsuits were filed regarding unpaid salary. The last finance report for the KS GOP shows only slightly more than $4,000 (no, I didn't forget any zeros) cash on hand. With all these problems combined, I could walk into 2025 SW Gage Blvd. pass out copies of these suggestions, and it wouldn't help them a bit in November. It's good to be a Kansas Democrat this year.

1. Get a clue: Republicans desperately need to cook up some new ideas and craft an attractive agenda to have any chance of success. Former Massachusetts governor and presidential candidate Mitt Romney says it should be a modern edition of Newt Gingrich’s “Contract With America.”

2. Cut the crap: Republicans are dominating Democrats in one area right now: humiliating sex scandals. If former Rep. Mark Foley isn’t e-mailing young male pages or Sen. Larry Craig isn’t playing footsie in the bathroom, then Rep. Vito J. Fossella’s getting busted driving drunk and then admitting he fathered a love child. You can’t run on family values when you don’t practice them.

3. Beg for help: The Republican infrastructure is crumbling. Making matters worse, Democrats are erecting a pretty impressive network of donors, think tanks and activist groups that is exploiting the GOP’s structural weakness. The GOP “needs to realize what the opposition is and how formidable it is,” said former GOP leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas). “The Democratic Party is organized chaos, but it is so much better than what we are doing.” It will take no less than three to five years to fix, smart Republicans estimate.

4. Burn the Bush: There is something honorable about loyalty. But taken too far, it can start to look downright loony to voters. President Bush is as unpopular as Richard Nixon was in the days before his resignation. Cut him loose — quick, says Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.). “We can go our own way with our own programs, and even disassociate ourselves from President Bush,” Davis said in a memo to fellow Republicans.

5. Change the pitch — and your face: Several well-known Republicans said the party needs fresh, reassuring packaging and a more diverse crowd to deliver it.

6. Fan the fear: Ignore the critics, Republican wise men say — there is still no better way to win than to stir up concerns about Democratic patriotism and their commitment to national security and killing terrorists. It often remains the best call in the GOP playbook, especially with McCain atop the ticket.

Those who don't know history...

Are doomed to repeat it. I always assumed that meant making the same mistakes as past generations, but it looks like some Republicans would have done well to repeat history in high school.

Many of you know that President Bush accused Sen. Obama of appeasement during a speech to Knisset, the parliament of Israel.  Putting aside the many problems with taking our politics beyond the water's edge, it was historically inaccurate. So the President may not get called out on failing US History and European History, but the rethuglican spin-lackeys who do try to stick to the message will be. Check out the awesomeness.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Wichita's Congressional Hope

College Democrats Superdelegates Lauren & Awais Endorse...

After weeks of emails, facebook messages, and youtube videos

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Scott Kleeb wins Nebraska Primary!

While not officially KYD related, we must mention Nebraska's primary results. Scott Kleeb, a 32 year old Nebraska rancher is officially his state's Democratic candidate for US Senate. With 73% of precincts reporting at this hour, Kleeb had 68% of the vote.

Kleeb's wife, Jane Fleming Kleeb, currently serves as the Executive Director of the Young Voter PAC, having completed a successful tenure as ED for Young Democrats of America.

Those of us at the Burro Blog expect exciting things for these liberal youth activists in the coming months.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Why Labor matters

I'd like to post a detailed analysis of why labor matters, but I can't. I can't because I'm posting this from the panera next to where I work during my lunch hour. So I'll make this brief:

Labor matters because we work.
It's not just that we work, but most of us will work for a corporation or large organization. We won't work for ourselves, we may not work for that independent small business, but we will all work. And working could be far worse.
I work at least eight hours a day, five days a week. I spend all of that time on my feet, except my government mandated lunch break.  Before Labor, there were not mandatory breaks. There was no OSHA, no work place safety, no standard work-day, no worker protections. But because of Labor, there are.
Now, the issues have changed. Fair wages and wage growth compared to the astronomical salaries of CEOs. Healthcare and affordable coverage. Protecting American jobs and fighting for Fair Trade.  These are the issues of Labor today, things that affecting everyone of us. And that's why Labor matters. 
I'd love to post more, but my break is up. It may have seemed short, but I know who to thank for it.