Aimee Patton

A pleasantly eccentric take on politics

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You might have heard me this morning.  I dusted off my old pom poms and started my old cheers from back when I was a junior high cheerleader – “We’re #1, we can’t be #2, we’re going to kick the snot out of you! Gooooooo Kansas!”

Why am I so excited about being #1?

Kansas beat out the 49 other states at something.  It’s not often that happens, but when it does I want to grab my pom poms and cheer about it!

Was it for being #1 at education?  Ding.  Try again.dTreE6rXc

Was it for being #1 at job growth?  Ding. Try again.

Was it for being the healthiest state in the nation?  Ding. You are out!

It was because (cue up the marching band) all states showed falling uninsured rates but one -Kansas.

Who says when we put our minds to something we don’t succeed?

Kansas, of course, is one of more than 30 states that opted not to set up its own state exchange, or marketplace, under Obamacare. And it’s one of 22 states that have declined to expand Medicaid.

Gallup

And now we are #1 in a rise of uninsured people in the country! Woohoo!!!  Tell me again why opting out of setting up our own exchange was a good idea and why not expanding Medicaid helps Kansas?

Staying in cheerleading mode, I’m moving on to Senate Bill 123 or as I like to call it – Gimme a M, Gimme an O, Gimme a N, Gimme an E, Gimme a Y – what’s that spell?  Money!  Money! Money! This bill would allow KanCare to decide what anti-psychotic medications could be prescribed to mentally ill patients.  Forget the doctor.  Forget what the patient needs.  It’s now between KanCare and….well KanCare.

I found this little nugget from the hearing,

The committee’s chairwoman, Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, a Republican from Shawnee, set aside 20 minutes for the bill’s proponents, 20 minutes for its opponents and 20 minutes for questions. The 15 opponents’ comments were each limited to about 90 seconds, while the five proponents were limited to four minutes. “I’m sorry, but we have so many people who’ve signed up to testify that’s all the time we have,” said Pilcher-Cook, addressing a packed hearing room. – See more at: http://www.khi.org/news/article/mental-health-advocates-share-concerns-about-proposed-kancare-drug-change#sthash.sLBkvcBw.dpuf

That seems about right.  The opponents get less time than the proponents, but she is sooooo sorry (wink wink).

I thought that lawmakers in Kansas were only in the role of playing doctor when it came to women’s lady parts, but turns out they also play doctor when it comes to knowing the what the right types of drugs are for the mentally ill in our state.

Since 2002, state law has guaranteed Medicaid patients access to whatever behavioral health drugs their physician or psychiatrist sees fit to prescribe. Senate Bill 123 would change that, allowing the state to develop policies for deciding how, after July 1, mental health drugs would be prescribed. The three managed care organizations in KanCare would implement the policies. According to Kansas Department of Health and Environment Acting Secretary Susan Mosier, tightening the prescription processes would improve beneficiaries’ health and likely save the state $8.3 million. – See more at: http://www.khi.org/news/article/mental-health-advocates-share-concerns-about-proposed-kancare-drug-change#sthash.sLBkvcBw.dpuf

The state wants to get involved in prescribing drugs to the mentally ill so they can save a buck?  Gimme a B!  Gimme a R…..Oh hell Gimme a freaking break.  This is beyond outrageous.  It’s just plain wrong.

Welcome to Kansas – we’re #1 in uninsured and #1 in not treating our mentally ill with respect! Goooooo Kansas!

 

Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State, and I are becoming BFFs these days.  First I wrote a glowing blog post about him this week and then I got to see him in person at an immigration forum hosted by the Village Square last night.

What is the Village Square?  The Village Square is a non-partisan public educational forum on matters of local, state and national importance. They are dedicated to maintaining factual accuracy in civic and political debate by growing civil dialog on divisive issues, and recalling the history and principles at the foundation of our democracy.

Civil dialog?  I had to check it out and see if this thing called civil dialog was even possible.

It was snowing like crazy when I left work for the event.  My liberal hybrid had trouble reaching the venue.  I was slipping and sliding all over the place, but NOTHING was going to keep me from seeing Mr. Kobach.  I even slid into an intersection and hit a car!  The woman jumped out of her car to inspect her bumper.  She looked at me and I mouthed – Kobach.  That’s all it took.  The power of his name alone was enough.  She gave me two thumbs up, jumped back into her car and we both drove away.

I finally made it to the event located at a large church. There was camera crew, a moderator and there were fact checkers.  The fact checkers were there to challenge any stats that were provided during the event and make sure they were valid.   They were armed with laptops and a strong internet connection.  I started to sweat.  I know I said I was 35.  Honestly, I’m 35.  They looked at me and I looked at them.  Suddenly they started typing.   Ok, I’m not 35, maybe I’m 39.  Did I say 39?  Ok, maybe I’m 40.  Certainly they have more important things to fact check than my age.  Jesus Christ it was hot in there.  Did I say Jesus Christ out loud?  Damn it, it’s a church.  I’m definitely going to hell.

Moving on…..Kris Kobach was the first to speak.  He gave a speech about illegal immigration and how it’s a drain on our economy.  He went on and on about how illegal immigrants come to this country and milk our social services.  He spoke out about illegal immigrants sending their children to our free public schools.  He spoke about the meat-packing industry wages falling due to illegal immigrants.

It was amazing that I kept my composure during Kobach’s speech.  I do have a confession to make.  I was guilty of having multiple sargasms during this time.  My eyes were in full roll mode and I caught myself sighing a number of times.  I mean I’m only human.  If I didn’t have those outlets I probably would have exploded right there in the church.

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The counter point came from Clarissa Martinez De-Castro who gave an entertaining speech about the history of immigration to the United States.  She spoke of the journey of illegal immigrants and refuted many of the points that Kobach brought up.

Finally there were two economists that focused on immigration.  That’s when the program got mind-blowingly good. They pushed back on almost all of Kobach’s points.  I wish they had a buzzer to ding him on his points just for effect. It’s hard to know if illegals drain our resources – why? Because they are illegal and we don’t have good facts to prove the point.  Do illegal immigrants  go public school?  No, but their LEGAL children go to public school and they have a right to.  It’s the law.  Meat packing industry wages did fall- not because of illegals, but because unions were broken up and they were the reason wages were kept at a decent level.  The economists were jabbing Kobach at every turn.

The end of the program just about killed me.  Kobach believes that we should have selective immigration based on who provides the great benefit to this country.  If you are good at math and science you are in.  If you aren’t – forget it.  If you are smart, you go to the front of the line.  If you are not smart, sorry Charlie.  The underlying racism in this thought process just about made my head spin.  The worst part was the church wasn’t offering any alcohol.  I had to listen to this remark stone cold sober!  My suffering was real people!

 

I will say the crowd was amazingly civil. There were civility bells that people could ring if things got out of hand. The bells only went off twice.  Once because the crowd applauded out of turn and the second time was because Kobach bashed President Obama – shocker!

Here’s my take away from the whole night.  I enjoyed the program.  I liked having all sides discuss the issue.  What I was most shocked by (in all seriousness) is that Kris Kobach is a brilliant legal mind.  He is a graduate of the Ivy League.  He is one of our top constitutional lawyers  in this country.  What shocked me was how easy his arguments were torn apart.  I may not agree with his position, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be dazzled by his brilliance.  I was FAR from dazzled.  Was he holding back, because he thought the audience wasn’t smart enough to follow along?  Is this as good as it gets or is this really it?  I left shocked and confused by him.

I plan on attending more events by the Village Square.  I hope you check them out as well.

 

In Kansas, it’s commonplace for bills that fail to come up year after year when a lawmaker wants to be a pain in the ass.  That seems to be the case with the parental consent for teaching sex-ed bill.  In this 2015 bill, parents would be given the sex ed curriculum and would have to opt-in for their children to be part of the class.  Here is my favorite quote from the article explaining the bill,

“If there’s no opt in, we have no idea what’s being given to our captive, submissive children who are told to listen to their teacher,” Schmidt said.

Captive and submissive?  Sounds more like an S&M fantasy than a description of our children attending school.  Somebody has been watching 50 Shades of Grey.  My child is a lot of things, but captive and submissive aren’t words I would use to describe her.  Geez….and people say I’m dramatic.

Here’s the other thing to consider in this bill – what happens if both parents don’t agree?  What if one says opt in and the other says opt out?  What then? I know that KS lawmakers believe that all KS families are like June and Ward Cleaver, where it would be Ward ultimately making the decision as he gives June a sweet kiss on the forehead and tells her not to worry her pretty little head about these things, but in reality some parents might not agree on what’s right for little Beaver.

What happens then?

Anyway, here is the blog I wrote last year about this very same issue.  No reason to recreate the wheel so here you go!

(Note – I just changed parties to Republican when I wrote this post)

 

Dear Kansas Republicans,

Now that I’m a Republican, I feel like I have to reach out to you about something that concerns me.  I found out that there is a new bill up for debate – HB 2620.  What is HB 2620?  It’s an opt-in sex education bill for our Kansas schools or as I like to call it the “put your fingers in your ears, yell LA LA LA and pretend our kids aren’t having sex” bill.

The bill establishes a mandatory opt-in program for sex education. It prohibits the display or distribution of instructional materials on health and human sexuality to any student whose parents didn’t opt-in.

Now I was a kid once and nothing says bullying from other kids like having to sit out sex education class, because mommy and daddy  won’t let you participate.  What are you going to do with the kids who opt out?  Line them up in the hallway while everyone else learns about the birds and the bees?  I thought Kansas was an anti-bullying state.  Bills like this ASK for kids to bully other kids.  I mean really-nothing says mommy’s boy like being excluded by your mom from sex-ed class.  Then just wait when the kids get out to the playground.  What do you think they are going to talk about?  Everything they learned in the sex-ed class. Duh!

Now I could list off all of the facts that support sex education in schools – like this one from the Guttmacher Institute:

Strong evidence suggests that comprehensive approaches to sex education help young people both to withstand the pressures to have sex too soon and to have healthy, responsible and mutually protective relationships when they do become sexually active.[23]

I won’t bore you with stat after stat in support of comprehensive sex education. I do, however, feel like I need to ask a very important question….

Do you not have enough to do in Kansas?  Seriously….what’s up with bills like this?  I can tell you that my road looks like crap and I pass strip mall after strip mall sitting empty.  How’s that recruiting of new businesses to Kansas thing going?

Please stop wasting taxpayer money and time with bills like this.

Vote no on HB 2620.

Thank you,

Aimee

 

 

The worst politician of the week award goes to….(drum roll please)….Kris Kobach.  kobach

You probably remember Kris Kobach, Secretary of State of Kansas, who ran around screaming about voter fraud and implemented the harshest voter identification laws in the nation.  To vote in Kansas, you have to  provide a valid driver’s license, your first-born son, a vial of blood, your latest Starbuck’s cup with your name on it, your iPhone  passcode and your latest Facebook profile pic.

BUT we had to have voter identification laws, because voter fraud in Kansas is a very serious problem according to Kris Kobach.  It was such a serious problem that Kobach wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal in 2011 outlining his case.  http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748704816604576333650886790480

From the article,

Evidence of voter fraud is present in all 50 states, and public confidence in the integrity of elections is at an all-time low. In the Cooperative Congressional Election Study of 2008, 62% of American voters thought that voter fraud was very common or somewhat common.

Ahhh yes, integrity of the elections is in question by the American public.  How about the integrity of our politicians?  That’s what leads us to the latest discovery this week about good, old Kris Kobach.  See it turns out that there actually hasn’t been one case of voter fraud reported by Kris Kobach in four and half years.  That’s right – zero, zip, nada, zippo.  Not one.

Read this baby from MSNBC:

 

During last year’s election, the Kansas Secretary of State chastised U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom, complaining to the media that Kobach’s office had referred examples of voter fraud to the Kansas-based federal prosecutor, but Grissom has refused to prosecute. Worse, Kobach said the U.S. Attorney didn’t “know what he’s talking about” when Grissom said voter fraud doesn’t exist in Kansas.

 

The AP reports today that when Kobach made these claims, he appears to have been brazenly lying (thanks to my colleague Tricia McKinney for the heads-up).

[I]n a Nov. 6 letter sent from Grissom to Kobach and obtained by The Associated Press through an open records request, the prosecutor responded that his office received no such referrals from Kobach, and chided the secretary of state for his statements.

 

“Going forward, if your office determines there has been an act of voter fraud please forward the matter to me for investigation and prosecution,” Grissom wrote. “Until then, so we can avoid misstatements of facts for the future, for the record, we have received no voter fraud cases from your office in over four and a half years. And, I can assure you, I do know what I’m talking about.”

Wait, it gets worse.

Kobach now concedes that when he said he’d referred voter-fraud cases to the U.S. Attorney’s office, he had not, in reality, referred voter-fraud cases to the U.S. Attorney’s office. But, the right-wing official told the AP, Kobach’s predecessor had alerted the federal prosecutor to two relevant cases and Grissom ignored those referrals.

 

It turns out, that’s not true, either: federal investigators looked into those 2011 allegations and, as the AP report noted, they concluded they were not voter fraud.

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/kobach-voter-fraud-allegations-exposed-fraudulent
Here’s what makes this story absolutely horrible.  When the vote id law came out, some minority church leaders came out against this saying the new law was unfairly targeting minorities and poor people.  The new law would disenfranchise certain voters.  17,000 voting privileges were suspended due to this new strict voting law.   In response, Kris Kobach said this,

“I don’t know what churches — and I would put churches in quotation marks — because the vast majority of church leaders I’ve spoken to are fully in favor of our photo ID law,” Kobach said.

http://cjonline.com/news/2014-08-16/african-american-ministers-blast-kobach-photo-id-law
Put churches in quotation marks?  Here’s a fine idea.  You should spend Sundays going to church.  You might learn about this thing called lying.  God doesn’t look too fondly on people who lie.  You lied about cases of voter fraud.  You made people believe that election fraud was a big enough issue to pass voter i.d. laws.  You fixed a problem that never really existed and now good people can’t vote.  That is a shame.

I’m not worried about election integrity and more worried about the integrity of the politicians that we elect.

Yours for fixing problems that actually exist,

Aimee

I’m convinced that Topeka lawmakers have a list of all the things that piss me off and they have gone down the list this week checking it off as they go:

1. A bill that gives a monetary reward to perfect, heterosexual, Christian foster families over other types of foster families….check

2. Take away discrimination protection for LGBT people….checkimages

3. Have a two-day hearing on how to strengthen heterosexual marriage and introduce no-fault divorce….check

4.  SB 45 - a.k.a. the insane gun bill

It took me about 3 hours to read SB 45.  Every 5 minutes I found myself yelling, “seriously” or “are you freaking kidding me?”  It’s three hours of my life I won’t get back.

If I was reading it right, conceal-carry gun owners would no longer need a permit.  I’ll admit it was hard to read this lengthy bill, because the rage I was feeling caused the words to go fuzzy. To sum it up, conceal-carry gun owners would no longer need a permit to carry a gun.

Let that sink in for a moment…

No permit needed to carry a gun in Kansas.  This is all done in the name of protecting your family.

RRRiiiiggghhhttt.

Welcome to Kansas – the state where you have no idea who the hell is armed!  Good luck and God bless!

Yes, but Aaaiiimmmeeee criminals don’t have permits and they are armed!

Let’s break down that argument for a moment.   Lets say you buy a car.  You can get in the car and drive around without a license.  It’s possible.  Some people do it and never get a driver’s license.  That said, should we go ahead and scrap the DMV?  Woohoo! No more drivers licenses!  I don’t know about you, but I would rather get 100 pap smears than go to the DMV.  No offense DMV. Think about it.  It would eliminate that horrible driver’s license picture that no matter how hard a girl tries, the picture ends up looking like Lindsay Lohan’s latest mug shot.

Yes, but Aimee a car is a deadly weapon if not used properly.

Excuse me while I go bash my head into the closest wall in frustration – Isn’t a gun the same thing?

I understand the 2nd amendment.  I get that you and I have the right to bear arms.  This isn’t about taking away guns.  It’s about having background checks and permits to make sure that people are well-trained to carry firearms.  It’s about doing everything possible to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill and convicted criminals.  More and more you hear about mass shootings in this country and its reported that the gunman bought the gun legally.

I’m going to take a shot in the dark (no pun intended) and say the gun lobby probably had something to do with writing this legislation.  I understand that the gun lobby has oodles of dollars to influence politicians, write legislation and get laws like these passed in Republican states like Kansas.

Sigh….

So what can we do to fight this?  Tell everyone you know to contact representatives and oppose this bill.   Tell them that gun background checks and permits are reasonable.  Tell them that these measures don’t compromise the 2nd amendment.  Tell them that doing away with permits doesn’t actually do anything to protect Kansas families.

I don’t know about you, but I’m so happy it’s Friday!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

All my love,

Aimee

 

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