I’ve noticed a new conservative blog in Kansas, Cold Friday. It describes its goal as “to provide thoughtful opinions on current events and the moral issues of the day.”
The founder is J. Christopher Pryor of Topeka. He has been published with the Journal for the Study of Antisemitism, David Horowitz’s NewsReal Blog, The Remnant, and Catholic Family News among others. He has a J.D., M.B.A. and B.A. in Philosophy. Pryor writes predominantly on issues of antisemitism, philosophy, current events and his hobbies of science and ham radio.
Gidget stepped away for a few months, but happily she is back writing about Kansas politics at Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe).
One of the great things about the internet is it gives people an outlet for their writing and opinions that they probably would not have otherwise. I’d like to introduce you to someone whose writing I think you’d like to read. Well, I can’t really introduce you to her, because I don’t know who she is. On her blog she (?) goes by the name Gidget. It’s titled Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe) at insideksgop.blogspot.com.
Gidget writes anonymously, although I’m pretty sure she’s female and lives in or near Johnson County, as many of her articles concern local politics there. Being anonymous has its good and bad aspects. For one thing, most people who try to be anonymous on the internet and achieve any level of notoriety are usually exposed, eventually.
Being anonymous means there is less accountability for what you write, so people may not give your writing as much weight as they should. But anonymity gives the freedom for some people to write things that need to be said, and that’s what Gidget does very well. For example, last year she reminded readers that Bob Dole is known as the “Tax Collector for the Welfare State.” Not so much in Kansas, where he has stature just shy of sainthood. And that’s the point. If you criticize Bob Dole for the things he did that deserve criticism, you’re likely to be ostracized from the Kansas Republican Party. I can tell you, there are attack dogs.
The sometimes nasty nature of politics lead Gidget to write this earlier this year: “I have taken a much needed break from all things political during this campaign season. I know it’s bad timing, but my tender soul can only deal with so much back-biting and garbage slinging, and the 2012 primaries sent me to a dark place.” (Guess who’s back from Outer Space?)
I was sad to see that Gidget didn’t post anything for some months. But as the August primary approached, she rejoined the conversation. Here’s what she wrote about the United States Senate primary between Republicans Pat Roberts and Milton Wolf:
Sigh. This race is the most disgusting and vile thing I’ve witnessed since, well, Moran-Tiahrt. From the outside, it appears that everyone involved in the Roberts/Wolf fiasco has lost all of their senses. (Gidget’s predictions — Roberts vs. Wolf)
Later in the same article she wrote:
Finally, I am appalled, truly, sincerely appalled, that Wolf is now being investigated by the Kansas Board of Healing Arts for photos and comments he made on Facebook years ago.
Had he not run for office, his career would not be threatened. It’s that simple. Whatever you think of Wolf (and I really don’t think much of him), he doesn’t deserve to have his professional career ruined due to a Facebook post. He just doesn’t.
And it smacks of Roberts calling in a political favor. There is exactly one member of the Kansas Board of Healing Arts who is not a doctor or medical professional. That person is a political activist, appointed by Brownback, and a vocal Roberts supporter. Did she have anything to do with the Wolf investigation? She says no, and I’m inclined to take people at their word.
However, often in politics, as in real life, perception is reality. And the timely investigation of Wolf stinks. Badly. This is why good people don’t run for office.
Gidget is absolutely correct. When people consider whether they want to subject themselves to the type of attacks that the Roberts campaign launched, many people will decide not to run.
Here’s another example from the same article of Gidget writing the things that need to be said, and which party insiders don’t say:
I sincerely wish Roberts would have done the right thing a year ago — and that is decide against running for a fourth Senate term. We would have better candidates to choose from had he done so, and it’s been obvious for quite some time the direction in which the political winds were blowing. Kansans (and many around the country) had had enough of long-term federal legislators in Washington.
I contend that had Roberts really, truly cared about Kansas, the state GOP and the country, he would’ve bowed out this year. He’s a nice man, but his ego may be out-of-hand if he truly believes he’s one of only two people in the state of Kansas who can fairly, accurately and reasonably represent the Sunflower State in the U.S. Senate.
As Kansans know, the senate primary was particularly nasty. It shouldn’t be that way, and it doesn’t have to be. But there are many people who put party and personality above principle, and the results are usually not pretty. These attacks can have lasting impact. Here’s what Gidget wrote shortly after the August primary (Leaving the GOP):
I am leaving the Kansas Republican Party. While I will continue to work for candidates I like, and continue to be a registered Republican — you don’t get a choice in most of the elections otherwise — I’m out.
My disillusion with the party can not be overstated, and I simply see no reason to stay.
This fall, I will be volunteering for the Libertarian candidate, Keen Umbehr. Do I agree whole-heartedly with Keen? No. In word only, my values more closely align with what Gov. Brownback says his values are. (His actions suggest otherwise.)
I can no longer spend my time or money for a party that actively works against the people — specifically the grassroots people.
I am fairly certain I’m not the only person who has had enough of it. There’s an extraordinarily unusual lack of decorum among what I would call the Establishment of the Kansas Republican Party.
Take, for example, Gavin Ellzey, vice chair of the Third District Republican Party. A few days ago, he locked down his Twitter account, but prior to that he made numerous posts about “offending Muslims with a .45,” “only attractive women need equality,” and posts essentially calling Milton Wolf a piece of sh!t.
This is what passes for respectful discourse in Kansas politics these days. I was disgusted by his tweets, but that’s just the most public tip of the iceberg.
There were widespread rumors of many candidates making threats to individuals if they didn’t get onboard and offer their full support.
While not a huge Wolf fan, I continue to be disturbed by the way he was treated by what I would call the Kansas Establishment. He was ostracized, called names and I heard that he was uninvited to county and state GOP events.
Every Republican candidate in Johnson County attended an election night party at the Marriott Hotel in Overland Park. Wolf’s party was across the street at a different hotel. Was he not invited to participate in the county party?
I am not for one minute saying that everyone in the Republican Party has to be in lock step. But party members should welcome new faces, new candidates and fresh ideas — even if they don’t personally support some of the new people or their ideas.
That’s acceptable. It is not acceptable to act like the Republican Party is a locked boys club, where only certain people need apply.
I’m sure the Kansas Republican Party is simply a microcosm of what goes on in other states, but I don’t have the heart for it anymore.
The things I heard people say last night at the Marriott, the things I saw and heard people say in social media over the course of this campaign, I am out.
I blame our current crop of Republican politicians for this discourse. A gentle word here and there from them about Reagan’s 11th Commandment would go a long way. But those words are left unsaid, and I have to assume it’s because our most of our Republican politicians think winning is more important than anything. It baffles me that these self-professed Christians appear to believe that the ends justify the means.
Falsely altered photograph of Kris Kobach posted on Community Bridge Blog
In debates over public policy, words matter. But readers recognize that words represent the opinion of the writer, and as such can be incorrect, misinformed, or simply stating a preference that the reader may disagree with.
But photographs are different. When presented with a photograph purporting to convey a message, readers (viewers) don’t know if it is real or has been altered.
In this case the photograph is false. It’s a fake. These types of photographic alterations — thought to be funny or amusing by some, especially liberals — have no place in serious public discussion. Even if they’re a staple of MSNBC television commentators.
And when we wonder why good people are reluctant to run for public office, here’s a reason why: they’re likely to be subject to malicious and false attacks such as this.
The author of the post, Christopher E. Renner — at one time a “Linguistically/Culturally Diverse Populations’ Consultant and Teacher Trainer at the Midwest Equity Assistance Center, College of Education, Kansas State University” — ought to apologize to Kobach and the readers of the blog. That’s if he wants to be taken seriously.
Here’s the text of Renner’s post, contained in What Every Kansan Needs to Know about Kris Kobach. While I believe Renner is largely incorrect in his opinion — and his writing could use some proofreading — his written opinions are just that. Readers can choose to agree or not.
The Republican’s nominee for the job of Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach, is a well know nativist extremist who makes a living by drafting anti-immigrant laws and, after they are adopted, trains officers to enforce them. If the laws are challenged, he goes to court to defend them. Quite the racket since the laws are always rule unconstitutional and in the mean time he lines his pockets with tax-payer dollars from the legal fees he racks up.
Recently someone left a comment that tried to associate a made-up name someone uses when commenting on this blog with that person’s actual name. I removed that comment.
For one, I don’t know if the charge made by the comment writer (themselves operating under an assumed name, or at least a name that gives little clue as to their identity) is true.
Second, at the Wichita Eagle editorial blog, identity-speculating and other behavior stemming from that has poisoned that forum to the point where many discussions degenerate into the worst forms of name-calling, and even death threats. I won’t let that happen here.
This week I in was in Anaheim, California on a fact-finding trip. As part of this, I asked to meet with a planner for the City of Anaheim. Shortly after we started our meeting, he asked to leave the room for a moment. When he came back, a media relations person for the city was with him, and stayed with us during our meeting.
This is not unusual, as many companies and governmental bodies have policies about their employees talking to the media.
But that’s it … in California — Anaheim, anyway — bloggers are treated as press. Not so in Kansas, though.
Today I’ve made a switch in the theme this blog uses.
Last year, at about this time, I switched the underlying system this blog uses, changing from Drupal to WordPress. There isn’t really anything wrong with Drupal, but it does a lot more than what is needed for blogging. Also, I felt — and experience has confirmed — that Google treats a WordPress blog better than a Drupal blog. At least that has been my experience.
At the time I switched to WordPress, I selected the Cutline theme, created by Chris Pearson. It’s a great WordPress theme.
But as time goes on, a little change is good now and then. Pearson has created a new and very highly-regard theme called Thesis. It’s not free, as is Cutline. But after studying, I decided that I’d like to switch to Thesis. So I bought it, and you’re looking at its initial implementation.
The Thesis theme is highly customizable, but I haven’t done much of that yet. There’s also the chance that some things might not be working right now. I’d be interested in your impressions, and, of course, your feedback if something isn’t working as it should be.
Through several methods, including excessive tweeting and plain old gumshoe work, the identity of the anonymous blogger Kansas Jackass was deduced. One tweet by the Jackass told me that the blogger would be entering the event hall at Kansas Days in a few minutes. I waited by the door and had a conversation with the Jackass.
Stephen Ware, Professor at the University of Kansas Law School:
“What’s unusual about Kansas is about how little the people’s wishes matter. There are no checks and balances in the judicial selection process.”
********. It’s called a retention voted [sic]. Don’t like Justice Dan Biles? Vote him out in a year. And, hey, aren’t all professors supposed to be crazy liberals?
I asked Mr. Ware about the value of retention votes in giving a voice to the people. As it turns out, he said, no Kansas Supreme Court justice has ever lost a retention vote, and only one lower court judge has. “This is consistent with the pattern around the country, in which judges hardly ever lose retention votes. That’s mostly because there’s no rival candidate to spark a real debate.”
So it appears that in Kansas, retention votes have not been a meaningful way for voters to engage in the process of choosing their judges. However, I will trust this blogger to educate us about crazy liberals.
I think I say this almost every week, but I’m amazed at some of the blogs that people create just to showcase and report on their own personal interests. This week it’s Dave Knadler, who is a professional writer. His blog Dave’s Fiction Warehouse deals with books and writing and movies, and also his assorted adventures, which sound like fun.
And while I’m repeating myself, Douglas and Main by Bobby Rozzell remains a great spot to catch up on the good posts in Wichita-area blogs, and to learn of new blogs, too.
At Americans For Prosperity, Kansas chapter head Alan Cobb asks “What if Kansas threw a billion dollar party and nobody showed?” Yes, but it’s only $1.3 billion.
The Kansas Meadowlark is a little light this week but contributes Flying into a double rainbow. I had the pleasure of hanging out with the Meadowlark last week in Scottsdale, Arizona, catching up on news and learning more about blogging.
My friend Helen Cochran of Citizens for Better Education is doing a great job educating Wichita on the merits of opposing the Wichita school bond issue. The post Wichita School Bond Presentation by Helen Cochran comments on a speech she gave to a civic group. And, now that I have video production capability, you can see her speech here: Helen Cochran Speech on Wichita School Bond Issue. Helen used a little visual joke at the start, which I thought was hilarious, but wasn’t received all that well by the stodgy group she spoke to.
I created a Flickr photo set that holds all the header images that I use on the Voice For Liberty in Wichita. To see the images in full size, click on any image, then along its top, click on “All sizes.”
In Kansas this week, blog coverage of local issues is a little light, partly due to the holiday, but also the Republican convention.
A local blog I’ve just become aware of (but has been around for a few years) is Book Nut. It covers, naturally, books. It’s always amazing to me to see the effort that people put into their blogs, especially ones like this that are hobbies. Douglas and Main remains the leading place to learn about Wichita-area blogs and their posts.
At The Kansas Trunkline (The Official Blog of the Kansas Republican Party), blogger Christian Morgan posts from the Republican National Convention. KS GOP Political Director Corrie Kangas also contributes.
An interesting site someone just showed to me is Web Map of Wichita, a useful collection of Wichita-oriented web sites presented in an unusual way. This comes from 2Wichita, a new site (at least to me) that appears to be a useful resource for learning about all sorts of websites in and around Wichita.
Kansas bloggers were hard at work again this week, covering a wide variety of topics.
A Wichita blog that’s been around for a while but has recently undergone a change in direction is Wichita Art Directory. This blog contains wonderful images of the works of many Wichita artists. Also useful is an extensive list of links to mostly art-related websites in Wichita.
Wichita’s “Boondoggler” at Wichita 259 Truth continues to churn out great work. Last week he (she?) noticed that Wichita school bond celebrity spokesperson George Fahnestock doesn’t live in the Wichita school district. This week two new posts appear. One, Snouts in the Trough for the Kids, takes a look at the sponsors of the “Vote Yes for Kids” bond kickoff party. While noting that the Wichita Eagle complains about lack of knowledge of who is behind the bond issue campaigns on both sides, through a little sleuthing the Boondoggler tells us a lot. Isn’t this what newspapers used to do?
Then, in The Curious Case of College Hill, the Boondoggler wonders if “… [USD 259’s] commitment to smaller class sizes only extends to certain schools and kids that live in certain neighborhoods.”
The anonymous blogger Doo Dah Blue writes that an anti-gang graffiti project in Wichita may be unconstitutional because it involves a religious theme. See Flagrant violations of the Constitution. I wonder how this blogger feels about prayers, invocations, and/or moments of silence before meetings of the city council, county commission, school board, Kansas legislature, United States Congress, etc?
Over at the corner of Douglas and Main blog collector Bobby Rozzell continues to provide a valuable resource for keeping up with Wichita blogs.
The Americans For Prosperity Blog for Kansas announces the hiring of Susan Estes as field director for western Kansas. I had the pleasure of meeting Susan this week, and I think she’ll be a great addition to AFP. She replaces Rodger Woods, who will soon be serving us overseas. Please be safe, Rodger.
Wichita’s “Boondoggler” at Wichita 259 Truth contributes two fine pieces this week. The first, About FEMA Shelters raises important questions about the competence of Wichita school district officials when safeguarding Wichita schoolchildren.
The second, Fahnestock’s Motivation?, notes that the celebrity spokesperson for the Wichita public school bond issue doesn’t live in the district.
No overarching theme emerged this week in Kansas blogs. Follow-up from the August 5 Kansas primary and Wichita school board action proved popular with readers.
A new (to me, anyway) and interesting Kansas blog is Jewish Simplicity, which blogs about “… simplicity, frugality and sustainability from a Jewish perspective …” Douglas and Main is a great place to learn about new Wichita blogs.
The Kansas Federalist’s Currie Myers contributes analysis of a sales tax that passed in Johnson County to pay for public safety. Evidently the threat of increased property taxes was used to push the sales tax. We’ve had that in Sedgwick County, haven’t we? And since then, all the incumbent Sedgwick county commissioners who ran for re-election have been defeated.
Some people have asked if I’m on Twitter, and the answer is yes. Here’s a link to my Twitter profile, from where you can choose to follow me.
I don’t use Twitter as much as a lot of people do. I don’t have a mobile device like a Blackberry. I have a regular old-fashioned cell phone. (Isn’t is funny to think of a plain cellular telephone as old-fashioned, even quaint?) So I just update from my computer.
What I mostly do on Twitter is to post titles and urls to new blog posts. There’s a problem, though. Often the title of the post plus the post’s url are over 140 characters long, the limit for Twitter. But, Twitter reduces long urls to short ones using tinyurl, and usually the title plus the short url are well within the 140 character limit. But, Twitter doesn’t know that, so it won’t accept the post. I’ve reported this to Twitter, and they’re thinking about it. Such are the issues of software engineering and programming.
Update: Why didn’t I think of his on my own? Just use tinyurl.com to create your own short urls. Even simpler, the Firefox addin “TinyURL Creator” makes this process quite simple.