Aimee Patton

A pleasantly eccentric take on politics

CostaFamily

It wasn’t long ago that here in Kansas we had a problem with welfare recipients taking cruises on the tax payer dime.  The welfare checks would come out and like clockwork, our most disadvantaged would grab their iPhone 6s, dial-up Carnival Cruise Lines pushing each button with their freshly manicured nails.  That’s when our lawmakers had NO CHOICE, but to step in and say, “oh no you don’t” and put out the some of the most restrictive welfare spending language in the country.  Read more here.

 

Our lawmakers were looked on as heroes as they made rules to save our taxpayer dollars from being spent on luxuries in places like:

 

  • Fortune Tellers
  • Tattoo Parlors
  • Liquor Stores
  • Swimming Pools

Oh don’t even get me started on the evils of swimming pools.  Anyhoo….the point of the brave lawmakers was to prove the point, that government assistance should ONLY be used for basic needs.  The Kansas lawmakers took it one step further and said that poor people should only be allowed to withdraw $25 at one time.  The point being that anything more than $25 could only lead to bad things.  A limit like this would mean people would have to take the time necessary to research their needs, understand what they wanted to spend their money on and then carefully decide when the right time was to withdraw their money.

 

Yes there would be additional bank fees incurred by this new limit, but it didn’t matter to the lawmakers.  The lesson learned by the limit outweighed any additional penalty.

 

The point was clear – take your time and research before you get yourself into trouble.  The was the valuable lesson the lawmakers needed to teach poor people.  Think about all the trouble not taking your time and understanding the full scope of what you’re doing can get yourself into.  Let say you withdraw $50 instead of $25 for the week.  Anything can happen with that additional $25.  You could be the victim of impulsive spending and then what?  You could be left broke for the rest of the week.  The Kansas lawmakers couldn’t allow that to happen.

 

Again, the point is to STOP and research, because your actions have consequences.

 

As a poor person you should always do three things:

1. Research

2. Understand all the consequences of your actions

3. Don’t do anything that would jeopardize the bigger picture

 

Now that we are clear on what poor people should do, we will just kindly excuse what the lawmakers didn’t do – these same three things.  By enacting the $25 withdraw maximum, the lawmakers may have overstepped (polite way of saying broke) the Federal TANF law.

 

“The Social Security Act requires states to ensure that recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families “have adequate access to their cash assistance” and can withdraw money “with minimal fees or charges.”

At stake is about $102 million in TANF block grant funds that Kansas receives every year from the federal government.

Read more here from the Kansas City Star.
That’s right – the lawmakers imposed a law that makes it impossible for people on assistance to withdraw a reasonable amount of money to pay for things like car payments, rent and utilities without incurring a ridiculous amount of bank fees.  Maybe if the lawmakers would have 1. researched the federal law, 2. understood that they were imposing unnecessary bank fees on people and 3. that they were jeopardizing the bigger picture of the overall TANF funding of the Social Security Act they would have stopped and thought about this first.
Oh but I forgot – it’s about poor people being dumb and irresponsible.

 

 

 

 

Chalkboard

We are all well aware that the state of Kansas has been undergoing major cuts to education as a result of the drastic Brownback tax cuts that left the state with a serious revenue problem. The state responded to the education funding crisis by implementing a block-grant funding bill that has still left Kansas schools underfunded.

 

“The Topeka Capital-Journal reported that a K-12 block grant bill, which cut about $50 million in operating and maintenance aid from the budgets of most school districts in the state, went into effect for the current school year.”

 

The result has been that some Kansas school districts have been forced to close Kansas schools early in an effort to deal with the budget cuts.

 

“Concordia Unified School District will finish up six days early, on May 15, and Twin Valley Unified School District will let students out 12 days early, on May 8, the Associated Press reports.”

 

The state of Kansas is filled with two parent homes where both parents work just to make ends meet. This  move puts working parents in the difficult position of figuring out what to do with their school-aged children in the time between the school year ending early in May and when summer camps start in June.  In an effort to combat the bad press that has resulted from the early school closings, the Kansas government has decided to put a positive spin on the closings by making a big announcement.

 

Drum roll please…..

 

Forget Take Your Child To Work DAY.  In Kansas, we will have Take Your Child To Work WEEK.  Lets just forget that this is a result of working parents having no other choice. We’ll just focus on all the benefits that KS employers will get out of having kids running around KS offices for a week while mom and dad attempt to get their work done.

 

The benefits include:

  1. Customers who will think that KS businesses are really embracing younger generations when they call  and a 10-year-old answers the phone.
  2. Forget highlighters and red pens editing your reports, the new look in edits will be crayons.
  3. The ability to put a 12 year girl in charge of your business social media account. Instantly you will see your Twitter followers skyrocket with tweets like, “Just heard Bieber on the elevator music at work. #BieberFever”, “OMG my highlights look fab under these fluorescent lights. #TaylorSwiftsuckit.”
  4. Expose your youngster to the benefits of office coffee at 8 years old.  Show him how to take the last pour with leaving just enough so you don’t have to make another pot.  It’s a skill that will last a lifetime.
  5. Your six-year-old will become a pro at muttering, “damn traffic” everything morning when fighting rush hour traffic with mom or dad.

 

The lesson here is when the Kansas government gives our kids lemons, lets just make lemonade! Well, that will have to wait until June when working parents send Kansas  kids to summer camp as scheduled before the tax cuts changed the school year.  So look for lemonade in June.  In May, look for stressed out parents who don’t have coverage for their children.  If you dare offer parents lemonade in May, be sure you add something stronger to help them deal with this crisis.

Dear Clay,14354454_0

I had to reach out to you.  It is rare that you and I have something in common, but we did the other day when we both read the story about the Topeka waitress who served Governor Brownback at the Boss Hawg restaurant. The waitress crossed out the tip line and wrote, “Tip the Schools” on the receipt in reference to the education crisis that Kansas is dealing with.

 

I think you and I both had the same reaction:

 

1. I have to go to Topeka pronto and eat at a restaurant named Boss Hawg’s (said only in the deepest southern accent with an emphasis on the word hhhaaawwwgg)

2. The restaurant has the best tagline in the world – Terrifying Vegetarians since 1995

 

As excellent as these two points are, that’s not what we are focusing on here today.  We are focused on the waitress and her political statement when all our Governor wanted to do was eat his dinner.  The receipt has gone viral and various news stations around Kansas have posted this story to their Facebook page.

 

As the Executive Director of the Kansas Republican Party, you took the brave stance and replied to one of the station’s Facebook post with this comment, “So you are publicizing her arrogant stupidity and utter ignorance. Typical liberal KS media.”

 

I couldn’t agree with you more Clay.  Waitresses at local Bar-b-Que joints are often THE most arrogant people around.  I mean who does she think she is?  She’s acting like she’s the Executive Director of the Republican Party.  The nerve of some people….

 

And don’t get me started on her utter ignorance! How dare she ask for more funding for our schools.  She just needs to get used to schools closing early for the summer due to lack of funding.  I mean you and the other Republicans are sleeping like babies at night as a result of the education cuts even if it does hurt Kansas kids.

 

I loved, loved, loved how you pushed back on the local media when they questioned you about the Facebook post,

 

“And yes it is perfectly in line with the party’s role – we get to say what everyone is thinking,” Barker said. “Why would the Kansas media, well-known for its frequent liberal, anti-Brownback disposition, go to such lengths to highlight a rude comment from a single individual?”

Barker concluded: “Where are the stories of the thousands of people who have said complimentary things about the governor?”

 

Snap!  You say it like it is.  That comment was rude.  I just think the rude part where she calls Brownback a bastard was written in invisible ink, but it was there!  You and I both know it was there.

 

I’m so glad you and your party are there to say what everyone else is thinking, because we were all thinking how rude it was for this woman to ask that Kansas children get a quality education funded appropriately by our Kansas government.

 

You are correct in saying that there are thousands of Kansans who say good things about our Governor every day.  I went to Twitter and asked fellow Kansans to say nice things about our Governor.  Here are some of the responses,

 

“Governor Sam Brownback has a good head of hair.”

as far as I know, he’s never built a Death Star”

“He always has well-clipped nose hair.”

“He hasn’t blocked me on Twitter yet”

The list goes on and on.

 

Now if you could help me figure out who to name as my jerk of the week.  I’m having trouble figuring out who to pick.  For some reason the name Clay keeps popping up in my mind.

 

Sincerely,

Aimee

 

 

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Brownback signed one of the most restrictive abortion measures in the nation three weeks ago in a private ceremony.

In keeping with the theme that a woman’s private health decisions shouldn’t be private, Brownback decided that his private ceremony shouldn’t be kept private either and is taking his signing ceremony on the road for a special three-time reenactment signing performance at Kansas schools.

The schools Brownback chose were private schools, because the Kansas public schools are closing in early May to accommodate for the drastic education budget cuts as a result of the Brownback tax cuts.

“The Kansas public schools were our first choice, but the teachers were busy getting end of the year testing done to let the schools out early, because funding dried up.  By the time our Brownback Bus would have arrived there wouldn’t have been any kids to rally,” said an anonymous Brownback source.

“Sucks to be them,” the source continued. “Looks like the private school kids will be the ones dazzled by the Governor’s reenactment.”

What can the private school kids look forward to in the signing reenactment?  One would think of a boring politician just signing a piece of paper, but not our Governor Sam Brownback.  This signing reenactment will be filled with dazzling stunts to keep the kids entertained.

Watch Brownback do a baton-twirling routine with his signing pen.  Gasp in awe as he lights the pen on fire and throw it up in the air doing multiple twists and turns while the audience is goes crazy with excitement!

Stare in amazement as he takes the abortion legislation paperwork and does the latest in origami.  Will he create a bird?  Maybe an owl?  The kids will shout with joy as he turns it into a hawk.

Finally, this stuffy politician will finish the ceremony with the latest in magic tricks.  The state needs to come up with $450,000 in tax money to defend this new legislation.  Watch Brownback go out in the audience and play “is that a quarter behind your ear or is it magic?”  Settle in because he will have to do that 1,800,000 times to come up with the money to cover the legal fees.

People who have previewed the reenactment said about the performance, “I laughed. I cried. It was better than Cats.”

 

 

Chalkboard

Kansas is soooo broke…

 

Audience – How broke are we?

 

We are so broke that we need to come up with $400 million dollars more in spending reductions or tax increases to balance the budget.

 

I wish this was a joke, but it isn’t.

 

All the lawmakers quoted in the news I’m reading say the same thing – “This is going to pose a challenge.”

 

A challenge? That’s the understatement of the year.

 

“Rep. Marvin Kleeb, an Overland Park Republican and chairman of the House Taxation Committee, said the job of legislators upon their return to Topeka on April 29 would be to address the budget hole without slicing into K-12 education, the state pension system or social service programs.”

http://cjonline.com/news/2015-04-20/kansas-lawmakers-cant-catch-budget-break

 

Why? Because they have already cut these programs back so far that some school districts inour state have let out children early, because they can’t afford to keep them in school the entire school year.  In response, parents, teachers and district officials have all taken to doing the Topeka Wave as a show of support for our Kansas lawmakers.  It involves a middle finger pointed in the direction of our state capital.

 

That leaves us waiting to see what mathematical magic Budget Director Shawn Sullivan will roll out to save this state and balance our budget.  S2 is in the rock and hard place position of holding to Brownback’s promise of not raising taxes, but being constitutionally obligated to balance our budget.

 

“The state’s budget problems arose after Brownback successfully pushed lawmakers to cut personal income taxes in 2012 and 2013 in an effort to stimulate the economy. The governor wants to preserve those cuts as much as possible.”

Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/news/politics-government/article19091628.html#storylink=cpy

“Sullivan said the gap between the state and national economies would be greater without the income tax cuts championed by Brownback.”

 

Translation – we would suck worse without Brownback’s tax cuts.

 

Cough…cough…bullshit…cough…cough.

 

Sorry – I’m suffering from allergies.

 

So how do you balance a budget without further cutting the major programs and not raising taxes?

 

A cigarette and alcohol tax of course!

 

Sounds like a gem of an idea to me.  Let’s take a shitty economy and then tax the one thing that makes people happy – alcohol. As far as cigarettes, smoking continues to decline.  Doesn’t sound like a rock solid revenue source to me, but then again I’m not a tax genius – just a snarky blogger.

 

I’ve got to run.  In the meantime I encourage everyone to do the Topeka Wave today.  It doesn’t change anything, but it always makes me feel so much better.

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