Another day, another shooting, but this time it’s in my community

Another day, another shooting.  Countless times I’ve written that statement.  Today is different.  It’s not just another shooting.  It’s a shooting aimed at my community, my friends and my family.

Earlier today the report came in.  Man opened fire at our local Jewish Community Center in Overland Park. The same Jewish Community Center where I grew up.  It wasn’t long ago that I was there attending a special arts program on the history of Mah Jongg, one of my favorite games.  I know the building and the surrounding neighborhood because it’s my neighborhood.

It’s a peaceful place full of a vibrant community of both Jews and Christians.  Many people who attend the JCC aren’t Jewish.  The JCC accepts all people of all religions as a place to come together for sports, fitness, arts and community.

Today it is rumored that two of the victims weren’t Jewish.  We are all victims of this senseless tragedy regardless of religion.  We will grieve together and heal together.

The shooting today is a constant and sad reminder that anti-Semitism is alive and a constant threat. Every Sunday I take my child to Sunday school at our local Synagogue.  Every Sunday we walk by a police officer.  He is a constant reminder that we are targets.  Not long ago she asked me why the police have to be at her Synagogue.

“He is there to keep us safe,” I told her without expanding on what I know and what she will soon learn.

It is such a hard balance as a parent to speak to your child about safety.  It’s so hard to know what to tell them and what is better left unsaid.  I will look to the experts to help guide those conversations for me this week.

I know there is so much the Overland Park Police are learning about the shooter.   I watched the video and heard his cowardly voice yell “Heil Hitler” from the back of the squad car. That’s really all I need to know about him.  I don’t give a damn about his guns, whether they were legal or illegal.  I don’t give a damn about his politics.  Tonight is not a night to politicize this tragedy. Those conversations will happen soon enough.  I will probably engage in them, but not tonight…not right now.

I extend my condolences to the families who are grieving.  We grieve together as a neighborhood, a city, and even as a nation.  Tomorrow is the start of Passover. I am reminded of the saying that all Jews say during Passover Seder – “”All who are hungry, come and eat; all who are needy come and celebrate Passover.”  Those words have different meaning this year.  For me it is a reminder that more than ever we need to come together as a community of all religions and heal from this senseless tragedy.

We will never forget.

About these ads

Jokes on me.

If you are looking for my last post, I deleted it.  As crazy as some thing are in Kansas, I read a story and thought it was true.  My apologies and I will say jokes on me.

Aimee

The next Presidential Election and the GOP candidate is…..crickets

It’s time I switch my focus from the “Krazy Kansas” as I call it (trademark pending) to a national focus.  It’s never too early to start talking about the next Presidential election or as I call it, my Super Bowl.

Lets meet the players.  From the Democratic side we have Hilllary Clinton and……

(crickets)

Ok so from the Democratic side it is Hillary.  I think we can all agree that she is slated to be the Democratic candidate for the next Presidential Election even while she is still “thinking about running.”  Whateve Hill, we know are you totally in and so excited you can barely stand it.

From the Republican side it gets a bit more complicated.  We have an interesting cast of characters and for the life of me can’t tell who the heck is going to lead the conservative pack.

I call the Republican contenders the “boy brunette brigade” or the triple B for short -  Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan and now Jeb Bush.

You can probably throw in Rick Santorum for good measure.

Out of this list, none of them is a strong candidate against Hillary.

I’ll admit – even though I want a Democrat to win, I long for a solid Republican candidate to make it an exciting race.  With any of these candidates we will just end up with Romney II.  A candidate who is lukewarm without any really chance of winning.  There will be a few exciting moments, but most of it will be a big zzzzzfest.

Listen up GOP, get your shit together!  I want a strong Republican candidate.  I love the political process. I love feisty debates, negative campaign ads.  Without a strong candidate, I’ll be forced to watch more Bravo to satisfy my need for drama.  Please feed my need for good politics.

So Republicans I ask you to step it up.  Who am I missing and why would they make a good candidate?

Marco Rubio can’t seem to hold it together on a national stage.  Ted Cruz shut down the government with a Dr. Suess book and America is still pissed.  Chris Christie…well you guys can’t really stand himself so why would Independents or Dem cross the line to vote for him?  Jeb Bush???? Really?  How many times are you going to back to that well?  I’m falling asleep just writing about these candidates.

Think about it GOP – you have so many winnable issues this time around.  The Democrats couldn’t have served up on a silver platter more beatable issues in the next election.  Obamacare, Benghazi, NSA spying, the IRIS scandal.  They are yours for the taking  except that you don’t have a candidate worth a darn.  Find somebody ASAP and get him or her (oh who am I kidding – him) out there on the national stage stat!

What do you think?  Do the Republicans have a chance in the next election?

If you don’t find a strong candidate soon, we will easily call Hillary Clinton the next President of the United States.

 

 

#KSleg are the bullies on the playground of Kansas Education

This past weekend, Topeka turned into what can only be described as something equivalent to something you would see on reality television as the House and Senate debated Education Funding.  The Real Representatives of Topeka was only one table flip away from being picked up by Andy Cohen as a new fall hit.

It finally passed, but only after a very, very late night session on Saturday and again running late into the evening on Sunday.

The big take away….Kansas doesn’t tolerate bullies unless they are from our own legislature.  Then it is A-Ok!

The situation is pretty simple.  The Kansas Supreme Court ruled that Kansas was underfunding our schools.  The KS Supreme Court gave the legislature until July 1st to comply with funding our schools at the appropriate levels.

One would think that would be a pretty simply solution. Underfunding equals more funding.  So what’s all the drama about?

Well, our more extreme Kansas Republicans decided that they weren’t going to fund schools at the full level without a series of demands.  Wait what?  But I thought the KS Supreme Court said to fund Kansas schools?  They did, but the Kansas GOP decided there were some things that they wanted changed.  Sounds like of like a kidnapper listing out a series of demands before letting the victim go.  In this case, the victims are our children.

The Kansas GOP decided to do away with stuff that they didn’t like in the current system – more vouchers and tax breaks for private schools and getting rid of due process for teachers that has been in existence since 1957.

Warning – if I see even one campaign ad from these clowns that says they are pro-education and pro-children this fall I’m going to throw my flat screen out the window.

We can continue asking what’s the matter with Kansas, but it is painfully obvious.  The problem with Kansas is bullies.  Whether it’s this type of hostage taking education funding or the other measures I have been writing about this season, the Kansas GOP believes that they reign supreme.  One day they are nullifying federal and local gun ordinances, the next day they are opting out of the Affordable Healthcare Act in favor of a hypothetical healthcare compact that doesn’t even exist.  Now they are gutting some basic rights our teachers have negotiated into their contracts or they won’t fund Kansas kids.

What can we do now?  Continue to focus all of our efforts to get extremism out of Kansas.  Vote next fall for moderate Kansans both Democrat and Republican.  There are sane and rational people living in Kansas.  Lets not continue to let this extremism reign supreme.

Today I wear red to support Kansas teachers.  I have a child in Kansas public schools and I can say that the dedication that teachers show on a daily basis is amazing.  Kansas schools continue to be an excellent resource for educating future Kansas leaders regardless of what the Kansas House and Senate have attempted to do.  I applaud all Kansas teachers for their hard work and dedication to our children.

I have a feeling this drama is far from over, however, the House and Senate have adjourned until April 30.  Thank goodness. I need a break….

The Kings of Kansas! Only state gun laws allowed. Local and Federal laws – talk to the hand.

It’s nearing the end of the legislative session in Kansas and the Kansas Senate wanted to go out with a bang.  They do so by passing SB447by a wide margin.  In case you didn’t get my joke – SB447 is a gun rights bill.  Get it?  Bang?  Oh never mind…

So what does SB447 do?  Well, first off it nullifies local gun laws and makes only state gun laws valid.

Let’s back up for a moment.  Kansas didn’t like that the federal government wanted to implement stronger gun control measures so it wrote a bill to nullify any federal gun laws in Kansas.  Now it doesn’t like that local municipalities may have gun laws specific to their communities so it passed this bill to nullify any local laws.

Well aren’t you just becoming the playground bully?

Hang on local governments, I’ve got this.

How can you be outraged that the federal government is trying to impose gun laws and then turn around and impose your own gun laws on local governments?

What’s good for the goose…

“Municipalities have a constitutional right to control things of local concern, and that’s what we’re trying to protect because there are a lot of issues that are not necessarily a statewide concern,” said Eric Smith, league counsel for LKM. “Each local municipality, depending on what their constituents, what their citizens believe, make the determination of how something should or shouldn’t be regulated.”

This is my favorite part:

“Sen. Pat Pettey, D-Kansas City, offered an amendment — it was defeated — to grant public libraries, community centers and community mental health centers a permanent exemption from existing state law requiring people with conceal and carry licenses to enter those buildings. The exemption is held by K-12 public schools.”

So let me get this straight, it’s A-OK to walk into a mental health center with a gun?  Are you freaking kidding me?

Yes, I know your logic NRA – we need more guns to prevent bad things from happening.  Blah…blah…blah.

“The fact that law-abiding citizens can carry weapons increases safety for everyone,” said Sen. Greg Smith, R-Overland Park.

Really Sen. Smith?  Do you really believe this?

http://www.kansas.com/2014/04/01/3379359/kansas-senate-to-debate-bill-voiding.html

Want to know if your employees are packing heat?  According to this Kansas bill, it’s none of your business.

“The bill also would prohibit local governments from asking their employees to disclose if they have permits to carry concealed weapons, and it prohibits any job discrimination against public employees who do.”

Welcome to Kansas where the Kansas Senate, I mean the NRA is King!

 

Good news people who suffer from hypothetical illnesses – KS HB2553 is just for you!

Another day another bill to attempt to defund, make illegal or just outright outlaw Obamacare. This time it comes from my favorite KS Representative Brett Hildebrand. Hildebrand sponsored HB2553 – the healthcare compact bill. Now what the heck is a health care compact? It basically takes the newly formed Federal program of Obamacare and puts healthcare back into the control of the states that are included in a healthcare compact. HB2553 even has a pledge that reads (I’m currently standing with my hand on my heart as I write this-cue the patriotic music.)
“The member states shall take joint and separate action to secure the consent of the United States Congress to this compact in order to return the authority to regulate healthcare to the member states consistent with the goals and principles articulated in this compact. The member states shall improve health care policy within their respective jurisdictions and according to the judgment and discretion of each member states.”
Amen – ok I added the amen part, but this is KS. I’ll assume they left just forgot the amen.

So let’s break this down – KS has voted to remove Obamacare and put the authority of healthcare oversight back to the states. States can opt-in to this health care compact.
Quick question – what if all 50 states opt in? Does it then become a federal program?
I know, stop over thinking this Aimee. The main goal is to get KS away from Obamacare. Here’s the dealio – the health care compact doesn’t exist.
Let that sink in for a sec….KS House voted to opt-out of Obamacare in favor of a healthcare compact that doesn’t even exist. Read here for more info on the bill.

http://www.kansascity.com/2014/03/24/4912715/house-passes-bill-to-separate.html
Since the healthcare compact is hypothetical, we can only assume that the new healthcare compact will only cover hypothetical illnesses.
So attention Kansas citizens! If you are suffering from the following you will be covered in the new Healthcare Kansas Compact:
• A case of the Mondays.
• Kimyeitis – the nauseous feeling you get when you see Kim and Kanye West do absolutely anything these days.
• Whiteaholicism – the illness that causes people to wear white after Labor Day and before Memorial Day.
• Parallel Parking Syndrome – the illness that makes it impossible for most people to parallel park with any accuracy.
• Loud Cell Phone Disease -this debilitating illness that makes it impossible for most to talk at a normal level on their cell phones in any public places.
• Candy Crushitis – the inability to stop playing candy crush until you have successfully crushed every jelly.
• MarchMadnessphobia – the fear that your college basketball bracket is at any minute going to turn to junk.
This is just the tip of the iceberg in what the Health Care Compact is going to cover.
What is very real about this bill is it asks that the states who are part of the health care compact receive full funding from the federal government.
(I can’t stop laughing). Let me get this straight – you want to opt out of a federal program in favor of a hypothetical program and you want FULL federal government funding to do so? There is some saying about a caking and eating it that comes to mind.
What isn’t funny is there is no provision in the bill exempting Medicare. Call your aging parents – KS just voted to make the very successful federal program of Medicare a state-run program.
(That sound you heard was my mother screaming, “Like hell they are going to mess with my Medicare.”)
Now that the Kansas House has established themselves as the expert in passing bills based on hypothetical things, I can only assume next up will be bills including:
• Building unicorn farms throughout Kansas;
• Creating the only national space alien landing pad;
• Establishing Kansas as the tooth fairy headquarters.
Way to go Kansas. This bill really corners the market on ridiculous!

 

 

Please Share! A 13 year old’s letter on why free zoo day in #KC is important.

Readers,

I am dedicating this blog post to the following letter  I received from Leanna.  I think her words sum up beautifully why free day at the zoo is so important.  Please help me share her words so that the Zoo and the Mayor hear her and keep free zoo days in the future.

I appreciate any reposting and retweeting of this letter.

Thank you for commenting on my blog post Leanna.  Let’s see what we can do when we work together!

Warmly,

Aimee

I wanted to go to the zoo that day. im 13 and my mother was in the hospital the spring day week and my dad is nowhere. i have a brother and a baby sister and my grandma to watch me, and she cant drive. we have to take busses and walk many dreary hours just to go to the zoo and walk some more…

but there’s a difference…

we see the lovely animals we traveled miles for hours for.

But since we couldnt take busses and walk from my apartment home by the Quick Trip by barry road to the Kansas City zoo early in the morning, even though the previous day we walked approxonatley 20 miles (walking and taking busses, then walking back more and taking less busses) to visit my mom, who has been sick since i was born, out of sergery and into bed.

So i guess what i am saying with all of this is, they cannot close the Kansas City Zoo free days because of a shooting… my mom can’t go to the Zoo on a paid day. its a tradition we go to the free days. a tradition crushed and never seeing the penguins and the polar bears (which, the giant polar bear statue, my mom’s, friend’s, dad made it… or someone in their family) and i dont think it’s fair. i just wish people managing the zoo can hear from a kids point of view that taking away free days is ruining bonding time (wich me and my mom never do much anymore) and fun to see new animals. my 5 year old sister was so excited about possibly going to the zoo she couldn’t keep her mouth closed. “Now Tati,” i’d always say, “We have to wait until next year for the zoo to have another free day.”

I can’t say the same ever again if they take away free days.

See her dissapointed face and tears makes my heart ache.

I am aboslutely greatful there are blogs and posts like yours that can express the feeling of the free days vanishing that i cannot express because i cannot find the words to tell.

Im glad there are some people who can fight for zoo rights for the little kids, ages 1- 18, because lets face it, i can even admit, kids being kids is the only thing kids do to have the zoo think twice about taking away free day… adults that an do more than me (which, if i was an adult, i would go to the government or whoever and do something about it) andi am a kid, cannot drive, know no direction to the zoo… …all i am saying is, for someone like me, we look up to the “heros of the zoo.” the zoo that brings our families together and the fascinating sights of the animals some kids have never heard of or have only seen on tv like Animal Planet and Nat Geo Wild.

You have my thanks for trying to save the free days.

Leanna

KC Zoo shooting – stopping free zoo day doesn’t solve the problem.

First let me just say I’m a big fan of the Kansas City Zoo.  I’m such a fan that my kid is spending 3 days this week at Zoo Camp.  We are “friends of the zoo”.  I have been going to the Kansas City Zoo regularly since my daughter was a baby.  I’ve been to the new penguin exhibit.  I’ve hung out in the polar bear exhibit.  I’ve walked up that horrible hill from Africa on many a hot, Kansas City day.

I’m shouting it from the rooftops, “I love the Kansas City Zoo!”

In case you haven’t heard, there was a shooting at the Kansas City Zoo on free zoo day for Jackson County residents.

There was a shooting at my zoo.  There was a shooting at our zoo.

So now what Kansas City?  There is a lot of debate in this town about the shooting.  Everyone is focused on the fact that it was free day for Jackson County residents. Is free day the problem?  Should free day at the zoo be stopped?

Stop free zoo day if you think that’s going to solve the problem.

Here’s a hint. It won’t.

Why?

In case you haven’t noticed, there isn’t any security at our zoo on free zoo day or any other day.  I can waltz right into our zoo with my backpack and cooler and nobody at the zoo stops to check it.  The staff at the entrance can barely handle making sure everyone has tickets, let alone stop and check backpacks.

It’s 2014 and I’m allowed to enter a large public space without anyone looking in my belongings.  Come on Kansas City.  I can’t enter a stadium or any other amusement park these days without having all of my belongs checked and sometimes I’m even wanded before I enter.

Not at our Kansas City Zoo.

I can drive my car almost up to the entrance of the zoo.  Then I can take my backpack and walk right in.  The only thing the zoo is concerned about is if I paid.  That’s it.

I can’t see a show in the neighboring Starlight Theater without having my bag checked.  Why one and not the other?

In a time when domestic terrorism and mass shootings are unfortunately becoming a common occurrence, the fact that our zoo doesn’t check backpacks and coolers is outrageous.

Stop free zoo day if you think that will help, but the only thing you are doing is putting a band-aid on a bigger security vulnerability that has thankfully been relatively safe until now.

Kansas City and the Zoo need to invest in security at the entrance, in the parking lot and throughout the park.  The entrance should be more secure with personnel checking all belongings when they take your ticket.  There should be security in the parking lot with cameras and some officers patrolling.

This needs to happen on free zoo day and every other day.  This isn’t about free zoo day.  This is about the harsh reality facing America today – we need security in large, public spaces.   Taking these extra steps will ensure that the people and the animals stay safe.

If you agree with me, share your thoughts with the zoo.  I know I’m going to.

 

 

HB2210 – An open letter to Governor Brownback

 

3/13/2014

Dear Governor Brownback,

I just need a quick moment of your time.  There is a bill on the way to your desk that just passed the KS Senate – HB 2210.  From the KC Star -

“House Bill 2210 would prevent voters who have a party affiliation from switching after the June 1 filing deadline until after primary results are certified in August. It would allow unaffiliated voters to change registration.”
Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2014/03/12/4884659/kansas-moves-toward-limiting-pre.html#storylink=cpy

 

Now there are some rumors floating around that people in one party switch parties to vote in the primary election to either 1. vote in the moderate candidate to beat the conservative in the primary election OR 2. vote the conservative in for hopes of an easy win come the general election (a la Missouri’s Todd Akin and Claire McCaskill race)

 

I’m asking you to please veto the bill.  Let’s not make it any harder for Kansans to participate in the election process. A bill like this would only drive more people away from voting versus actually keeping the integrity of the election process.  I mean really, just stop and think about the facts:

 

Toothbrush

 

  • In the last general election 66% of the population came out to vote.  
  • In 2013, 67.3% of the adult population of Kansas went to the dentist. (America’s Health Rankings)

 

Let that sink in for a moment.  MORE people went to the dentist last year than came out to vote in the last election.  We all know the jokes about hating going to dentists.  Heck, I hate going to the dentist – no offense to any dentist reading this, however, it is pretty telling how hard it is to get people to vote in an election when going to the dentists wins by percentages.

 

I know…I know…there is a crazy rumor floating around that I switched parties from a Democrat to a Republican in order to stop some of the…how shall I put it…more radical legislation coming out of Topeka.  I will own it.  I did change parties, BUT I am just one Kansan.  HB2210 didn’t stop me. I did it early, because I know that a moderate has a tough race in my district without any solid Democratic candidate and I want the moderate to win.  

 

If your point is to stop people like me from doing it once the candidates are announced, it’s a long shot at best.  I also think we can both agree that we shouldn’t be putting any stipulations around getting people to the polls.  At this point, any Kansan who wants to come out to the polls should personally get a high-five from you Governor after they leave the polling booth just for showing up.  

 

 

The point is we want to engage more voters with good candidates running on strong platforms not isolate those who choose to vote by forcing them to declare a party before they even know who the candidates are.  You can’t tell me that there aren’t going to be some people who just throw up their hands and decide not to participate in the election if they are forced to declare a party so early.

 

You and I would both love to think that the election process is as clean and pure as the driven snow; however, strategic voting tactics have gone on ever since pro-slavery Missouri, border ruffians invaded Kansas in an attempt to make Kansas a slave state.

 

If the point of the bill is to stop shady campaign tactics, I call on the KS legislature to come up with a bill to stop negative campaign ads.  You know the ads that run constantly during campaign season.  These ads are usually pretty soft on facts and high on fear tactics.  I think a bill like that would have Kansans singing “hallelujah” instead of HB2210.

 

So let’s just forget about my motives for changing parties and know that at least I’m INVOLVED in the political processes in Kansas.  Keep more Kansans involved by vetoing this bill.  Now I’ve got to run and call my dentist for a teeth cleaning.  Turns out – I’m overdue.

 

Yours in participating in the political process,

Aimee

 

Do I vote Republican? The drama continues….

So it’s been some journey since I wrote my initial article about becoming a Republican.  You might remember, it was in response to the HB2453 bill in Kansas.  The bill passed the House, but then died before reaching the Senate.  The article was written  out of frustration on what keeps happening in Kansas – far right Representatives introducing extreme legislation in my state.

My article encouraging people to vote as a Republican in Kansas in order to participate in the primaries was not a new idea. I did, however,  receive an amazing response – both good and bad.  Both on my blog and in the Kansas City Star article, I received close to 80 emails with people expressing the same type of frustration that I have.  How can the average, reasonable-minded citizen stop what is happening in Kansas?

E-mail after e-mail told me that there were people out there who did it all the time – voted as a Republican in name only  in order to vote in the Kansas primary.  It was almost like a secret club and one person even suggested we come up with a secret handshake.  Then there were other comments posted that I was a traitor, deceptive, disgusting, a liar, working the system., etc. etc.  There were even a handful asking me to move to Missouri – Kansas wouldn’t miss me.

Well, first thing is you can relax Missouri, I’m not moving across the state line.  I’m a Kansas girl and I’ve always been a Kansas girl ever since my family moved here in the early 70s.  I love Kansas – the people, the schools, the state.

I’ve had numerous conversations regarding my article.  What will I do?  What will I tell other people to do?

Here is what I’ve decided -

1. Get to know your district.   Every district is different.  Who are the candidates?  Does your district have a primary? Does your district have a strong Democrat running?  If so, then it isn’t a good idea to vote for the moderate in the primary so the moderate goes up against a Democrat in a general election.  If you don’t have a strong Democrat, then do it!  Vote Republican and vote in the moderate.

2. Push your party to come up with strong, moderate candidates – both Republican and Democrat.

3. Get involved.  If you find a candidate that reflects your views, get out and volunteer for their campaign.  Your vote counts and so does the vote of your neighbors.  The candidates need your time and your money.  Participate in the process.

4.  If you are a Republican, consider voting for a Democrat for Governor.  Paul Davis has a real shot at beating Sam Brownback.  Brownback sets the tone for this type of extremism in Kansas.  Let’s all work together to get him out of office in the next election.

Ultimately I am and will always be a Democrat, however, I am standing by my previous article that I will vote Republican if it means more moderates get elected.  I think it is a reasonable strategy.  If you don’t like it, put pressure on your Republican Representative to stop with extremist legislation.  Stop the sonograms in the Capitol, stop the Merry Christmas bills, stop the opt in sex-ed bills.  Stop with these crazy bills that ALWAYS will end up costing Kansas taxpayers millions in the court system.  Tell your Representative to stay focused on building the  economy, attracting new business to Kansas and providing a good education for our Kansas kids.

The one thing I am is absolutely committed to fighting extremism in Kansas.  I will continue to write about it and support candidates, both Republican and Democrat, that best reflect the views of moderate voters.  I do believe if we come together as moderates, we can successfully get people to stop asking…”What’s the matter with Kansas?”

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