Aimee Patton

A pleasantly eccentric take on politics

Dear Rep. Merrick,

Wow.centersign

That was the first word that came into my mind after I read your interview regarding budget cuts in the state of Kansas.  Here is what you said that prompted my response:

“Government employees produce nothing. They’re a net consumer. And you got that cost forever and ever and ever because they’re on the KPERS (pension) plan, they’re on all the government insurance and everything.”

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/yael-t-abouhalkah/article3979541.html#storylink=cpy

The second thing that came to mind involved two words and they were screw you.

I say that enthusiastically on behalf of all of the hard-working teachers, fire fighters, police officers, people who run our prisons, judges, and all those working in social services who help our vulnerable populations.  Your insult to them really took my breath away.

Yes we find ourselves in a budget crisis in Kansas.  Yes there are government workers who are on the KPERS plan, but you and I don’t agree on who is taking advantage of the KPERS plan.

See I did a little Google research before writing this blog post and it turns out that the one group that is fleecing the state on KPERS and costing taxpayers in this state is actually……drum roll please……

The State Reps!

Although Kansas legislators work part-time and are paid only during the 90 legislative session and days their committees meet outside that window, lawmakers who choose to join the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS) pay their contributions into the system as if they worked every single calendar day of the year plus one more week.

http://watchdog.org/36979/ks-kansas-legislator-pensions-inflated-more-than-ten-fold/

 

So this is kinda awkward.

Now, I’m no math wiz, but you work 90 days, but calculate it as if you are actually working 372 days per year.  Kinda weird given there are only 365 days in a year.  Tell me again who the drain on our resources are Mr. Merrick?  You work 90 days, but get benefits for over a year plus and you are saying the government employees produce NOTHING?  One thing I will say is you have some giant cojones.

I’m sure there will be a lot of people who read and share this blog post who agree with me that you are an embarrassment to this state.

Yours for getting paid 372 days per year and only working 90,

Aimee

 

 

About these ads

Aimee and DarlaThis is the story about two people and something that is almost unheard of these days.  This is the story about a politically opposite friendship-one conservative and one liberal who don’t agree on anything, but still manage to have an amazing friendship.

Our friendship start years ago when Obama was elected to his second term.  I was writing for the KC Star and I met Darla on election night when KMBZ was doing a live feed at a local restaurant.  Darla Jaye is a talk radio host in Kansas City on KMBZ 98.1 FM and I was a long time listener.  She sat down next to me and told me that she was a fan of my columns.

“You are a fan of MY columns?” I asked stunned.

How could a right leaning radio talk show host like my writing?  Maybe she wasn’t reading them right?  Does she understand that I’m a snarky, liberal blogger?  Sure enough she said she didn’t agree with my columns, but they made her laugh.  That struck up a great conversation that night about politics, our love of Barbra Streisand and all things Broadway.  I had been a long time listener and even called in to her show.  I couldn’t believe I was having such a fun time talking to this person who I didn’t agree with politically, but had so much in common with personally.  Almost all of my friends to that point were liberal so it was unusual that I was having such a great time with someone who I didn’t agree with politically.

From there we met for dinner and an amazing friendship started.

We talk about politics and current events a lot – when we are on the air and when we are off the air.   What you hear on the air is the same thing you would hear off the air if you were sitting with us at dinner.  We traveled together to Ireland a few years ago and had a great time touring a beautiful country and over there we argued about social issues impacting America, the economy and President Obama.  The only difference was we were surrounded by the beautiful Irish countryside and drank Irish beer.

Last weekend we went out with friends and guess what?  We argued about the Ebola crisis and how Obama was handling it-all while enjoying spinach and artichoke dip and cocktails.  It got heated and if you asked either of us which one was right we would both say, “me!”  After we left dinner we hugged, said goodbye and thought nothing of the argument.  Why?  Because we are friends.  She isn’t a terrible person, I am not a terrible person.  We just don’t agree on politics.

When Obama won re-election I gave her shit and when the GOP won the Midterms she got to give me shit.  Neither one of us gets our feelings hurt, because in politics we both know that I will win some and she will win some.  That’s how it works.  I respect her right to gloat and she respects my right to gloat.

Why am I sharing this with you?  Because I feel that America needs more friendships like this.  Politics are so polarizing right now.  It seems that you don’t just disagree with someone politically, but people have to HATE each other for it.  Political discussions turn into a verbal bloodbath with take-no-prisoner attitudes that end only when the other person is found weeping in the fetal position begging for mercy.

It doesn’t have to be that way. We are an example of that.

We both laugh when people react to us being friends.  She hears about it all the time that people can’t believe she is friends with “that liberal.”  People are shocked that I’m friends with a conservative.  When you both have a love for politics it’s really easy.

Listen to her show and catch me when I’m on: http://www.kmbz.com/

We have a great time debating all the issues and in the end she knows…..I’m always right :)

 

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Dear people of Kansas,

 

We all know that the election is over and Brownback is set to govern for another term. Now that it’s over, we’ve got ourselves a little problem.  It’s no biggie really – just a teeny, tiny  problem.  In case you haven’t heard, we are broke.  I’m not just talking a little broke, I’m talking broke with a capital “B” as in there ain’t no mo’ money.  We all know that Brownback implemented some pretty extreme tax cuts (that’s the understatement of the century) and now our budget is in what I like to call “danger, danger Will Robinson” crisis mode.1458

 

Since I picture Brownback in my head as Dana Carvey doing a SNL George Bush Sr. impression saying, “read my lips, no new taxes”, we find ourselves in quite a bind.
 
 

For his part, House Speaker Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell, has been unwilling to budge on the income tax cuts.

“The new revenue estimates only highlight the continuing need to protect core services while streamlining state government,” Merrick said in a statement. “We do not have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem.”

I like this tactic of just ignoring that taxes are now too low to support our budget.  We will just blame everything on our “spending problem.”  Like my issue with buying too many cute shoes every time it’s payday, the state of Kansas has a spending problem. How big of a spending problem?  We have to cut our budget by…..insert drum roll….$279 million dollars!

 
 

I’m attaching the budget memo that outlines everything.  I’m not a numbers girl so feel free to geek yourselves out over this attachment and join me again when you are done.  2014_CRE_ShortMemo-11-10-14

 
 

Holy shit batman that’s a lot of dough!

 
 

Grab your red pens, get comfy and let’s offer suggestions to Governor Brownback on where he can come up with $279 MILLION dollars in budget savings for the state of Kansas.  When your state budget goes from resembling filet mignon to Hamburger Helper, I think all suggestion should be on the table.  I’m not exactly sure what Ray Merrick thinks are “core services” versus take ‘em or leave ‘em services so I’ll just have to do my best to guess on that.

 
 

1.  Education – I understand that 50% of the Kansas state budget comes from education.  I heard that parents of Kansas students, like me, have nothing to worry about when it comes to further cuts to education.  Wink. Wink.  Sure I believe that.  We all know that Kansas has pretty much cut  the hell out of education in the past few years.  How about we just cut to the chase and do away with education altogether?   That’s right grab your red pen and just mark out education.  It’s not really a “core service” anyway.  Just the other day I noticed my daughter can read at a 2nd grade level, because she’s in 2nd grade and I thought to myself….she’s good.  No need to go any proceed with any more education.

 
 

See how easy this is. I’m saving money left and right.

 
 

2.  Prisons and law enforcement – In case you haven’t noticed, Kansas put’s the PRO in the pro-gun movement.  That said, we can do away with prisons and law enforcement.  Every citizen will be issued a firearm and there you go! We will bring back the Old West mentality when it comes to law enforcement.  I don’t know about you, but I trust my bat-shit crazy neighbor to enforce the law on my block and keep me safe from any shenanigans that might erupt.

 
 

3.  Senior and disability services – Grandma and Grandpa, I think you have just about had enough when it comes to senior services.  Kansas needs to cut funds and this is when it’s time to call your ungrateful kids and tell them it’s time to pony up.  No more senior meals, transportation and prescription drug assistance.  Hey peeps – guess what?  Because Kansas can’t balance their budget, mom and dad are going to have to move in with you!

 
 

4.  Cutting the WIC programs for women, infants and children – nothing says being a good Christian like cutting out the WIC program.  Think about all the money it could save the state!  Instead of providing nutritional assistance to women and their families who qualify, the state of Kansas can just give them a cardboard sign and a marker and show them which street corner is appropriate to beg on.  What’s the saying?  It helps build character.

 
 

These are just some of my suggestions.  I’m sure you can offer more.

 
 

Hopefully you realize that my suggestions are a joke.  I’m afraid that the Kansas legislature and Sam Brownback won’t realize this and will actually take steps to cut these valuable programs.  They have already cut millions of dollars in funding to valuable programs like education and taken extreme measures like privatizing Medicaid which has ended up with disastrous results.  Coming up with $279 million dollars in budget cuts can only mean that more important programs will be on the chopping block.  When will they realize that keeping taxes at this unrealistic level is hurting Kansas, Kansas families and our Kansas children?

 
 

Now excuse me.  It’s payday and that can only mean one thing – it’s time to buy some cute shoes!
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It’s been almost a week since the (hushed voice) Midterms.

That’s how people are talking about them with me in a voice that one reserves for discussing things like a bad bout of diarrhea.

“Sorry about the Midterms.  Maybe some a good night’s sleep and you’ll get over it.”

Just swap out the word “Midterms” for diarrhea and you have the same conversation.

I’ve had a few days to rest and think about the election.  I’ve read articles on what the heck happened and I’ve come to realize that what I’m doing is experiencing the liberal voter from Kansas’ 5 stages of grief.

See if you can relate.

Stage 1 – Shock and Denialimages

I had called the election for Davis based on the polls and all of the anti-Brownback feeling in Kansas.  Brownback bankrupts Kansas with failed tax policies – no way in hell he would win re-election.  The votes are tallied election night and Davis lost!  He lost!  How the hell did he lose? Maybe the votes weren’t counted right?  Maybe we have a hanging chad issue like the Gore election?   I’m found later that night curled up in the fetal position wailing, “Kansas voter, how could you let this happen?”  It wasn’t my finest moment.

Stage 2 – Pain and Guilt

This stage sets in the next day.  I made calls for the Davis campaign on a Sunday afternoon before the election. What if I had called more voters? If I did more, maybe I could have  saved the election for Davis. There was that one time that I just laid on the couch on a Saturday watching Real Housewives of New Jersey reruns – I could have spent that time calling more people!   It’s all my fault Kansas!  I blame me and the seduction of Andy Cohen’s Bravo.  Oh Kansas – how I failed you!

Stage 3 – Anger and Bargaining

Damn you Kansas voters.  You know the saying, you made your bed?  Well it applies here.  Brownback will continue to bankrupt the state, defund public education and hack away at social programs.  This state is headed for the toilet and it’s ALL YOUR FAULT.  It seems I’m better at the anger part of this stage and not so hot at the bargaining.

Stage 4 – Depression, Loneliness, Reflection

I feel like the only liberal in the entire state of Kansas.  Nobody thinks like me. Nobody votes like me.  Kansas progressive social issues table for one.   One liberal voter can’t save this state.  Nobody understands me….big sigh.

Stage 5 – Acceptance

In the end I accept what happened in the Midterms.  There are so many reason why  the outcome played the way it did in Kansas.  At the end of the day, I know I’m not alone as a liberal voter in Kansas.  There were 390,000 people who voted for Davis. That’s pretty amazing.

As a side note, Republicans no need to use hushed tones with me when talking about the election.  You and I both know that I would be gloating like crazy if my side would have won – so celebrate!  I would have been doing an election day, touchdown victory dance every time you brought up the election.  I think you should do the same thing.  It’s only fair.

 

 

The state of Kansas, 153 years old,  died November 4, 2014 with the re-election of Sam Brownback as Governor.

The state of Kansas leaves behind 390,051 voters for Paul Davis who desperately tried to save the state.  On the flip side, 422,842 voters concluded that no matter how bad Brownback’s policies were, he was worth another term.

Just how bad are Brownback’s tax policies?  Stop for a moment and Google, “what’s the matter with Kansas?”  There are also variations of that search like, “now what’s the matter with Kansas?” and “seriously, what’s the matter with Kansas?”

Are you back? Yep – things are that bad here in Kansas.  Things are so bad, that I can’t even type about it all anymore. I’m just too worn downloadout by the whole thing.

I may have only had a  few hours of sleep, but don’t think I forgot about the other big loss last night for our state which was Greg Orman to Pat Roberts. This race I’m less surprised about, but still has me angry.  If there was ever a poster child for term limits, Pat Roberts is it.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had discussions about the need for term limits with Kansans and then they go re-elect a guy who would have lost his job years ago from what…

Alex, I’ll take term limits for $100!

If you look up “career politician” in the dictionary there is a picture of Pat Roberts.

New Rule for Kansas – no one in the state of Kansas gets to talk to me about the need for term limits and the problems with career politicians after re-electing Pat Roberts.  Try it and I get to yell, “zip it” back at you.

What’s the big take away in last night’s election?

It’s pretty simple really.  If you are a Republican in Kansas you are golden no matter what.  As you might know, I switched parties to Republican so I could vote in the primaries.  I was toying with the idea of switching back after the Midterms.  I think I’m going to keep my party affiliation and continue to be a RINO.

Why?

Brownback has bankrupted our state with his failed tax policies and let’s not forget about the millions he and our Republican legislature have cost us in legal fees defending their conservative social policies that have brought about costly lawsuits.

If this guy can get re-elected, I feel like keeping the R on my voter registration card will get me out of just about any bind in the state of Kansas.

Pulled over for speeding?  Yes, but officer I’m a Republican!  You are free to go ma’am

Didn’t bring enough money for my latte at the Kansas coffee shop?  I’ll just whip out my voter registration card with the R on it and I’m sure it will be taken care of.

If you need me today, I’ll be in mourning for my great state.  Chocolates and wine to ease my pain on this great loss are appreciated.

 

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