Aimee Patton

A pleasantly eccentric take on politics

Dear Governor Nixon,

Like the rest of the world, I’ve been following events in Ferguson.  I’ve been reading the twitter feeds, following the Facebook posts and watching the news.  I’m following it all from a safe distance away – far away across the state of Missouri in Kansas City.  Full disclosure, I live in Kansas, but like many people from Kansas City, I work in Missouri, went to college in Missouri and spend a lot of time in Missouri.  Missouri to many in Kansas City is like our second home.  We may not rest our heads when we go home at night in Missouri, but most of our daytime hours are spent in Missouri.

That is why what I am watching is so absolutely unbelievable. Riots in the streets of Missouri.  Journalists being arrested.  Children being tear gassed.  The whole thing is mind-blowing to me.  Night after night I watch the live feeds and I just keep repeating..”unbelievable.”

If you look at my blog homepage you will know I am white.  I am really white – I drive a hybrid, drink Starbucks and shop at Trader Joes white.  I’m not going to analyze the racial issues in Ferguson in this letter to you.  I’m going to leave that to the African-Americans who are living it.

What I will do is say this – you are epically blowing this.  I mean this is a HUGE political fail.  I am writing this to you as a Democrat.  The protests flared up on Sunday and NOBODY heard from you until Wed.  The twitter grilling was worse than when Robin Thick did a twitter Q&A. http://www.heyreverb.com/blog/2014/07/01/robin-thickes-askthicke-qa-goes-hilariously-wrong/91459/

The hashtag #whereisNixon was trending. As tensions were boiling between the police and the protestors people were issuing a Silver Alert for your whereabouts.  The silence from you was as deafening as the sound canons being deployed against the protestors.

I understand you stayed back to see if local authorities could work it out on their own.  News flash – nobody in this situation is able to work anything out on their own.

Before this you were a pretty popular Governor.  You were holding your own as a Democrat in a Republican state.  Some said you had a pretty promising future.  I feel like I just watched your political career implode in the last week.

Here is a little bit of advice -

Treat Ferguson as if it had been hit by a tornado.  Tornadoes are common in Missouri.  You and every other Missouri politician can’t wait to beat each other to the podium to provide updates on emergency response when tornadoes hit.  Take off your suit jacket and roll up your sleeves.  Get out there on the streets and see how the people are doing.  It’s an emergency – just a man-made one.  Treat it the same way.  Provide an update every damn day until this thing calms down.  It’s like when the local weather guy breaks into the Big Bang Theory to provide a weather update and everyone complains.  He’s doing it to keep people safe, but people find it annoying.  Be that weather guy.  Annoy the crap out of us.  Provide us with too much information instead of not enough.

Why?  Because people are afraid.  The protestors are afraid.  The police are afraid.  The people in the entire state of Missouri are afraid.  The situation in Ferguson could easily spill outside of Ferguson into other Missouri cities.  Things are that tense.

I, like all of America, pray for peace and safety for those in Ferguson.

Please provide strong political leadership in this time of need.

Sincerely,

Aimee

 

 

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Dear Governor Brownback,

 

It’s me again.  Another day, another post.  I was so hoping to move on to another topic, another political figure, but you just won’t stop.  I can’t seem to quit you these days.  I desperately want to write about other things, but then you serve up another gem and I just can’t make myself move on.

I promised myself that I would read your Road Map 2.0h oh oh (see previous post) and I wouldn’t write about it.  I mean I knew what to expect.  There was going to be a plan to increase job growth in Kansas, bring new businesses to Kansas, improve the Kansas economy, blah blah blah…Nothing really new or exciting.  It was going to be a predictable, boring economic road map to Kansas’ future.  I read bullet point after bullet point that proved my point and then I landed on this:

“Develop an iconic Outdoor Lifestyle Center that offers an authentic outdoor experience; incorporating whitewater rafting, high ropes course, zip lines, and other activities.”

Hold the phone and back up.  The Governor’s grand plan for the state of Kansas is to develop a Cool Crest Family Fun Center?  How does this work with the GOP idea of less government exactly?

So we can’t fund our existing government, because of tax cuts gone wrong, but we sure can develop a playground for adults in the state of Kansas?

You were quoted as saying the tax cuts you implemented in 2012 would,  “be like a shot of adrenaline into the heart of the Kansas economy.”

So is zip lining Plan B for that shot of adrenaline that Kansans are looking for since the whole tax cut thing didn’t exactly work out?

What’s the message this is sending to our children since our schools are so underfunded?

Well kids we can’t appropriately fund your schools, but harness up and for some great fun zip lining.  Who needs funding for math and science when you can zip line over a corn field!  Just count the rows of corn as you go by.  That will make up for the lack of funding to your schools.

I hate to be the one to point out the obvious, but Kansas isn’t exactly the first state that comes to mind when you think white water rafting.  I mean this isn’t Colorado.  I did Google “white water rafting Kansas” and I actually found a White Water Rafting Kansas Association.

http://www.kansaswhitewater.org/

I checked out the website and there was a list of places to white water raft in Kansas.  The list included 27 rivers.  Of those rivers, 14 were in Kansas- that’s 50% of the Kansas White Water Rafting Association Rivers.  There were 5 rivers listed “optimal” for white water rafting right now.  One of those optimal rivers for white water rafting was actually in Kansas.  Well this is awkward.  I guess it’s kind of like “authentic” surfing in Kansas.  Schlitterbahn’s wave pool is your only option for catching a wave.  There is nothing really “authentic” about this plan at all.

I do have one request – can you loop me in on the “other activities” part of this whole plan?  I’m dying to know what’s included.  Can I make some suggestions? How about a ski resort?  Or possibly world-class snorkeling and scuba diving just west of Topeka?

Yours for deep-sea diving in Kansas,

Aimee

 

Listen up Kansans! On Tuesday, Governor Brownback is launching Road Map 2.0 Vision for Kansas!  The Road Map 2.0h oh oh…echo echo echo (for dramatic effect) will be where Governor Brownback travels across Kansas explaining his grand plan for the great Kansas comeback.

Now we all know if this is a 2.0 that means there was a 1.0.  If you are like me, you love a good sequel.  Think about it.  There was Star Trek and then Star Trek the Wrath of Khan.  There was Terminator…”I’ll be back” , followed up by Terminator 2.  Finally the Godfather and the Godfather II.  Now we have Road Map 1.0 and Road Map 2.0.

Admittedly, not all sequels are grand slams. Does anyone even remember Legally Blonde 2 Red, White and Blonde?  Didn’t think so.

Anyhoo…the question on everyone’s minds will be is 2.0 as good as 1.0?  Will this be Kansas’ Terminator or are we looking at Elle Woods goes to Washington here?Bill-And-Teds_l

I guess the first step is to jump into Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure time machine and travel back to 2010 to see what the Roadmap 1.0 looked like.

Ladies and Gentleman, I give you the Kansas Road Map 1.0 from 2010:

  • Increasing the state’s average net personal income beyond $34,500 a year.
  • Increasing private sector employment.
  • Increasing the percentage of fourth graders who read at grade level.
  • Increasing the percentage of high school graduates in college or who are career ready.
  • Decreasing the number of children living in poverty.

#1 – Enthusiastic applause for Governor Brownback.  Looks like you did increase the average net personal income to $43,916 in 2013.  I do believe in giving credit where credit is due so well done.

#2.  For the private sector employment – my assessment is we are inching along.  I will give this a slow clap instead of a big round of applause:

TOPEKA, Kan. The State’s June seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.9 percent, up from 4.8 percent in May and down from 5.6 percent in June 2013.

Kansas gained 15,000 seasonally adjusted private sector jobs, an increase of 1.3 percent since last year, and 18,400 nonfarm jobs, also a 1.3 percent increase. Since last month, Kansas gained 700 seasonally adjusted private sector jobs, a 0.1 percent increase. The state added 500 seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs, with no significant percent change.

“With another month of private sector job growth, Kansas continues its comeback from the recession, having now added more than 55,000 private sector jobs since January 2011,” said Secretary of Labor, Lana Gordon.

 

And here is where this 1.0 becomes a rotten tomato… #3 increase percentage of fourth graders who read at grade level.

From Jan 2014 – the Kids Count Data Center

Fourth Graders Who Scored Below Proficient Reading Level By Race

Year(s): All | Race: All | Data Type: Percent

Location Race Data Type 2005 2007 2009 2011 2013
Kansas White Percent 63% 58% 59% 58% 56%
Black or African American Percent 90% 82% 82% 82% 83%
Hispanic or Latino Percent 86% 81% 81% 81% 80%
Asian or Pacific Islander Percent 45% 57% 58% 57% 53%
American Indian Percent S S S S S
Two or More Races Percent 71% 62% S 62% 60%

#4 Increasing the percentage of high school graduates in college or who are career ready.

I will give a wee bit of credit for this one, because the graduation rate did rise from 83% to 85%, but scores in math and science declined.  Another slow clap for success.

“State board member Ken Willard called the slip in math and reading results “discouraging, to say the least” and expressed concern about the persistent achievement gaps.” http://cjonline.com/news/2013-11-12/kansas-high-school-graduation-rates-rise-85-percent

 

Finally #5 – on this one we have a crash and burn just like the sequel Grease 2 (really Michelle Pfieffer?) Decrease the number of children living in poverty in Kansas.  Drum roll please….

“The report, issued today by Kansas Action for Children, shows the child poverty rate has reached 23.15 percent, up from 18.11 percent five years ago.”

 

So overall 1.0 wasn’t a huge success.  We have more kids graduating, but not doing well in math and science.  We have more kids in poverty and our reading levels are dropping.  Private sector employment is inching along.  We all know that the great tax experiment just earned us a S&P downgrade.  Who do we have to blame for all this?  Well I’m sure if you ask Brownback he would say Obama of course.  I say forget 2.oh oh oh and focus on a change in the leading role in the next election.  I think we can all agree that sequels are never as good as the first movie anyway.

Dear Gov. Brownback,brick

I owe you a thank you.   See at my age most of my “firsts” are over.  I already drove my first car, had my first kiss, worked my first job.  I even ended my first marriage.  Really the only “firsts” left are collecting my first social security check, getting my first senior discount and having my first colonoscopy.   Not exactly an exciting list of “firsts”.

Well yesterday I got to experience a first.  Voting in my first Republican primary.

And it was all because of you.

I believe in giving credit where credit is due.  I will always remember you fondly when I think of my first – Republican primary that is.

You may have heard me yelling from my voting booth  “take that” when I voted for every moderate I could find.  To say I was enthusiastic was an understatement.  Turns out the moderates held their own in the Kansas primaries.

I don’t think it will come as a surprise that I voted against you in the primary.  Don’t take it personal – it’s just politics.  The other candidate’s name escapes me right now as it did yesterday.  I think the ballot read “not Brownback”.  I hit the button.  I have no idea who the other candidate was, but it wasn’t you, therefore a better option in my book.  In fact, it could have been a picture of a muppet and I would have picked the muppet.

I’m that fed up.

Why?  I give you exhibit A…..

Here’s a quote from an interview with KSHB that you gave as to why voters are so unhappy with incumbents:

“I think a big part of it is Barack Obama. That a lot of people are so irritated at what the president is doing, they just, they want somebody to throw a brick,” Brownback told 41 Action News.

http://www.kshb.com/news/political/brownback-voters-so-mad-at-obama-they-want-somebody-to-throw-a-brick

Throw a brick?  What the hell?  Are we a bunch of hormonal teen girls in this scenario and you are the cheating star quarterback?

I need you to lean in  close, because I’m going to share a secret with you.

Here’s the deal.  Barack Obama has been a so-so President, but you have been a horrible Governor.  I’m not into throwing bricks to make a point, but it’s not him you should be pointing fingers at.  Kansans are pissed and the person we are most mad at is you.  Our economy is in the toilet and it’s not Obama’s fault.   You won your primary by 63% to a person that nobody heard of.  That’s nothing to celebrate.

Again, I will think fondly of my first Republican primary and I give you the credit.  Now that it’s over, I will start campaigning like crazy for Paul Davis to defeat you in November.

Yours in helping Kansas recover and see better days,

Aimee

 

Kansas City has Obama fever!  In the last 24 hours he landed in KC, ate some BBQ and now he’s giving a speech about the economy in Midtown.

100 lucky people are watching that speech. Strike that 99 lucky people are watching that speech.

How do I know?  Because I had a ticket and I’m writing this blog as he’s giving his speech.  I’m not there.10443511_10153047534804552_1937506879404835464_n

Why?

Well it’s a long, sad story.

Gather round friends for a story of a simple, Kansas City girl with a dream of seeing President Obama and the day that didn’t go her way.

It started as any other day.  I got up and looked at my ticket first thing.  “Doors open at 8:30 am” the ticket said.

I bound out of bed and decided what to wear.  I picked a crisp bright red top and blue pants.  Perfect for standing out in the crowd and some might say a political uniform for women.  If I had a Hillary pantsuit I would have worn it.  (Note to self – get a political pantsuit for future events.)

As I got ready I came up with the best possible scenario that could happen to me today:

Obama looks out in the crowd and notices me in my bright red top.  I catch his eye and he comes to talk to me.  I tell him that I’m a political blog writer with snarky undertones.  He said he’s read my work and he is a fan.  He says it just so happens that they have a position open on his cabinet for a sarcastic blog writer.  He asks if I want to quit my day job and move to DC for a six figure salary.  I say perfect!  Deals done.  Moving van shows up and I’m getting the hell out of Dodge.  My first assignment is Boehner’s lawsuit.  Easy breezy.

As I peel off my Crest white strips I head out the door with my golden ticket in hand confident my scenario could come true.  I read The Secret.  All you have to do is believe it could come true and then wait for it!

I arrived at work.  The clock is ticking.  I know doors open at 8:30, but he doesn’t speak to 11.  I’m not going at 8:30 to sit there for hours in a hot theater with a hundred of my closest friends.  I’m going to be smart and leave at 10.  I’ll get there in plenty of time for his speech at 11.  I pat myself on the back for my smart thinking.

I glance at my watch.  9:45.  I head out the door and jump in my car.  Got to love KC.  I zoom up to the theater where Obama is speaking and get one block away from the venue.  I parallel park (thank you for my time in DC for crafting that skill) and get out of the car.  The police already have street blocked off.

I get up to the crowd and flash my golden ticket.  The police wave me over to the yellow tape area. “Up there ma’am.”  It was almost like they rolled out the red carpet for me.  This was too good to be true.  I felt like a Hollywood A-lister.  The protestors are on the other side of the street.  I’m sure people are green with envy as I glide the final few steps up to the theater.  I was walking on air.

I got so close to the venue that I could smell the excitement and then it happened.

“Sorry ma’am, venue’s closed.”

Somewhere I heard a sad trombone playing in the background.

“The venue is what?”

“The venue is closed.  It closed 30 minutes ago.  You aren’t getting in,” the very hot, but stern policeman said.

“But…but I have a ticket and I’m supposed to be discovered.  This is my big break.  What do you mean I’m not getting in?”

“Ma’am step away from the theater and stand over there,” the cop said point to somewhere behind a police horse’s ass.

That’s exactly how I felt at that moment – like a horse’s ass.

No amount of sad, puppy dog eyes or begging was getting me past those policeman.

Another group of people with tickets tried to get in.  I slinked my way up with them trying again.  The policeman caught me.

“I told you that you aren’t getting in,” said the still hot, but now angry policeman.

So I had 2 choices – stand with the protestors or head back to work.  I picked the 2nd choice.  I went back to my perfectly parallel parked car and left the venue completely defeated.

And that was how the 2nd most disappointing day of my political life ended up.

What’s the 1st you are asking?

(See Bill Clinton and the Monica Lewinsky scandal).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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