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It's been many years since Boston Public, David E Kelley's drama about life in an inner city high school, aired on network television. But on May 27, Senator Pyle (Hiawatha) invoked memories of the Kelley show by holding up a trashcan and telling the surrounding senators "SMELL THIS TRASHCAN", noting that the smell from stinkbait, placed their by him, was a good comparison to the current bill in record.

Within the confines of Kelley's world, an unhappy parent - Mrs. Parks - would bust into the principle's office frequently yelling "SMELL THIS SHOE!" "SMELL THIS SOCK!" with a long winded rant of how the smell of whatever she was offering could be compared to the failure of the teaching staff or principle at hand.

You can listen to the "SMELL THIS TRASHCAN" Debate moment here:

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Reposted from Scout Finch by Chris Reeves
Kansas City, Kansas Councilman Chuck Stites
Kansas City, Kansas voters might want to re-think Chuck Stites recent election to office.
A 17-year-old Kansas teen is claiming Kansas City, Kansas Councilman Chuck Stites unleashed a racist, misogynist rant after the two nearly collided in a traffic accident. Kali Chatmon says she was making a right turn and Stites approached with his right-turn blinker on. Thinking he was making a right and she was safe to pull out, she started to go and Stites kept going forward. She says she felt bad about it and was apologizing when Stites called her a "black nigger bitch" and told her to "go back to Baltimore.

Upset, she went home to tell her parents. They hopped in the car and found the vehicle belonging to the man who'd hurled the slurs:

She said they along with her boyfriend spotted the Lincoln at a bar and grill in the 13000 block of Kansas Avenue. That`s where Chatmon said she discovered the driver was Edwardsville councilman Chuck Stites. An employee at the bar and grill told FOX 4 there was an altercation, but didn’t want to comment further.
After ducking the media, he finally answered one question:
“What I`m going to say is that I think it`s all a big misunderstanding, and that it`s being investigated, and I think it would not be appropriate to comment to comment until the investigation is completed. I need to step into the meeting,” said Stites to FOX 4’s Mary Pulley.
BTW, Chuck Stites has been in office two weeks. Kansas City, Kansas voters might want to re-think Chuck Stites recent election to office. He says he's not going anywhere:
"I'm okay with somebody voicing their opinion. That's their right, and that doesn't bother me at all. I have no intention of stepping down," Councilman Stites said.
See an interview with Kali Chatmon about her experience with Stites at


Reposted from pdc by poopdogcomedy
Former Bush Trade Representative & U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R. OH) took the most pro-TPP corporate cash.
The Guardian has a great article out about which U.S. Senators took the most corporate cash to help fast track the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Three of them are Democratic U.S. Senators up for re-election, (Patty Murray (D. WA), Michael Bennet (D. CO) and Ron Wyden (D. OR)) and they took in a combined $105,900. That's pretty bad but the list of GOP U.S. Senators up for re-election next year is much linger and took a lot more corporate cash. Here they are:

Almost 100% of the Republicans in the US Senate voted for fast-track – the only two non-votes on TPA were a Republican from Louisiana and a Republican from Alaska.

Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, who is the former US trade representative, has been one of the loudest proponents of the TPP. He received $119,700 from 14 different corporations between January and March, most of which comes from donations from Goldman Sachs ($70,600), Pfizer ($15,700), and Procter & Gamble ($12,900). Portman is expected to run against former Ohio governor Ted Strickland in 2016 in one of the most politically competitive states in the country.

Sen. Roy Blunt (R. Monsanto)
Seven Republicans who voted “yea” to fast-track and are also running for re-election next year cleaned up between January and March. Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia received $102,500 in corporate contributions. Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, best known for proposing a Monsanto-written bill in 2013 that became known as the Monsanto Protection Act, received $77,900 – $13,500 of which came from Monsanto.
UNITED STATES - JUNE 3: Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Richard Burr, R-N.C., conduct a news conference in the Capitol on the Veterans Choice Act, which would provide veterans
Senators John McCain (R. AZ) & Richard Burr (R. NC)
Arizona senator and former presidential candidate John McCain received $51,700 in the first quarter of 2015. Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina received $60,000 in corporate donations. Eighty-one-year-old senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who is running for his seventh Senate term, received $35,000. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, who will be running for his first full six-year term in 2016, received $67,500 from pro-TPP corporations. - The Guardian, 5/27/15
While Senators Isakson, Scott and Grassley all look safe for re-election, Senators Portman, McCain and Burr are top targets next year and Senator Blunt has a potentially stronger challenger in Secretary of State Jason Kander (D. MO) who is heavily against the TPP. Former Governor Ted Strickland (D. OH) has been making the TPP a campaign issue and Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D. AZ) is against fast tracking the TPP. We don't have a challenger to go up against Burr yet but hopefully soon. But if you want to donate and get involved with Strickland, Kander and Kirkpatrick's campaigns, you can do so here:

Kansas Legislators are preparing to return to work tomorrow in an overtime session of a state body originally scheduled to adjourn more than a week ago. What holds them in Topeka rather than back at their regular jobs? The Kansas economic shortfall which has forced legislators to find around $400M in savings or tax increases before they can submit a balanced budget. With the end of the month coming and new tax projections around the corner, that number may fall below what the state actually needs.

In light of the pressure, ALEC has decided to send all Republican Legislators a message.. and here it is, in full.

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The situation with Kansas mental health care providers has continued to grow more problematic. Over the last four years, I've written about continued cuts, Staffing Shortfalls, as well as concerns by those who treat the mentally disabled.  Today, the Topeka Capital Journal looked behind the scenes of the situation on the ground in our health hospitals.
According to KDADS, Osawatomie State Hospital is supposed to have 501 full-time positions. Currently, 189 of those positions are vacant. The numbers represent a nearly 40 percent staff vacancy rate. KDADS said aggressive steps have been taken to reduce the number of patients at the facility, and that while there are vacancies, patients are receiving appropriate care.
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Sat May 23, 2015 at 02:31 PM PDT

Kansas Rocked by 4.6 Earthquake

by Chris Reeves

The Kansas Community of Pratt was rocked this afternoon with a 4.6 Earthquake.  The earthquake, located about 89 miles west of Wichita and close to nearby Pratt is neither the first or largest earthquake this year in Kansas, but continues a trend of increased seismic activity.

Over the past week, Kansas has been host to 8 earthquakes and over 37 this month.

The rise of earthquakes, which some connect with fracking remains a hotly debated topic amongst Republicans.

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Reposted from gjohnsit by Chris Reeves

 Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback promised to be able to balance the state budget by cutting taxes for the wealthy. That didn't work out.
   So to help cover the budget gap he has decided to punish the poor.

 Yet legislators in Kansas, not trusting the poor to use their money wisely, have voted to limit how much cash that welfare beneficiaries can receive, effectively reducing their overall benefits, as well.
   The legislature placed a daily cap of $25 on cash withdrawals beginning July 1, which will force beneficiaries to make more frequent trips to the ATM to withdraw money from the debit cards used to pay public assistance benefits.
   Since there's a fee for every withdrawal, the limit means that some families will get substantially less money.
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The Kansas State House moved today to send legislation to Sam Brownback which would significantly increase the role of the Kansas Secretary of State. Kris Kobach, in earlier testimony to the house had argued that his office needed prosecutorial power in order to make sure that cases of voter fraud and voter malfeasance could be prosecuted directly by his office rather than through county and city prosecutors.
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Reposted from pdc by poopdogcomedy
Received this e-mail today from VoteVets and Secretary of State Jason Kander's (D. MO) U.S. Senate campaign:
I joined the U.S. Army as a Calvary Scout in August of 2001, one month before the attacks on September 11th.

I served a peacekeeping mission in Kosovo and later deployed to Iraq as a Brigade sniper on counter IED and counter mortar missions. I performed over 160 combat missions without the use of an armored vehicle, engaged in countless firefights, and survived dozens of ambushes.

My transition back to civilian life was challenging. I struggled with intrusive thoughts, anxiety, depression, and more. But I found peace in the outdoors -- camping, hiking, and exploring natural wonders became a way of life.

That's why I support legislation granting free lifetime access to our national parks for veterans, and I'm asking you to join me.

Add your name to mine and tell Congress: Support legislation that would provide veterans free access to public parks.

Currently, to enjoy a lifetime pass on these lands, a veteran requires a disability rating from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

There are millions of veterans with a service connected disability, but too often some choose not to file claims or even visit the VA after returning home.

Free access to our nation's parks and federal recreational lands would definitely give many of them incentive to get outdoors for what would be a very therapeutic experience. A 2013 University of Michigan study backs that claim up. They found a link between outdoor activity and long-term psychological well-being among veterans.

That's why this legislation is so important. Join Jason Kander and VoteVets and tell Congress to pass legislation providing veterans free access to public parks.

Jason Kander will fight for this legislation in the U.S. Senate. But hopefully, if we act now, Congress will make it happen before he gets there.

All the best,

Garett Reppenhagen
Iraq War Veteran

Click here to add your name:

KU School of Law students give presentations to the Kansas Supreme Court.
Kansas Republicans have decided that favorable rulings in court hearings may require some incentive - and that incentive boils down to whether or not judges get paid.

Kansas lawmakers are threatening to cut off all funding for the judicial branch of state government if the Kansas Supreme Court strikes down a law enacted last year spelling out how chief judges in the district courts are selected.

A lawsuit challenging the new system of selecting chief judges is currently pending in Shawnee County District Court.

The suit which changes the selection process for judges is seen by Republicans as a way to prevent them from remolding the Kansas court system.
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Kansas Counties are finding that the Brownback economy isn't working out for them nearly as well as they had hoped. Today in the statehouse, Kansas Lobbyists are arguing against rolling back tax give aways and promoting more spending cuts.

In Ellis County, Kansas those give aways and the lack of new revenue generated has helped lead to a county struggling to take care of common services - like mowing their surrounding roads.

On what promises to be a difficult meeting, the Ellis County Commission and county department heads will meet at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Administrative Center to discuss cutting $1 million to $2 million from the budget for 2016 due to the drop in oil and gas tax revenue.

Several solutions to cut that much money will be presented, including an increase in sales tax, use of reserves, closing the Victoria and/or Ellis EMS operations, cutting subsidies to outside organizations and reduced ditch mowing.

Each tractor used costs more than $100,000 to mow the ditches. Not mowing will reduce the need for employees, and the mowers could be sold.

Also up for discussion would be to close the Victoria and Ellis EMS operations. Normally, they are staffed 24/7 with one ambulance each in Ellis and Victoria and two in Hays.

The Ellis and Victoria operations combined cost half of the operating budget.

The county will meet today to discuss terminating basic services or severely reducing them.
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Reposted from Daily Kos by Chris Reeves
Pope Francis waves as he arrives to lead the weekly audience in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican March 25, 2015. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini - RTR4URKU
What does it take to make Republicans want to keep religious leaders out of politics? A pope who disagrees with them, apparently. Pope Francis' recognition of a Palestinian state is just the latest of the pontiff's positions that have Republican politicians trying to put him in his place.
“It’s interesting how the Vatican has gotten so political when ultimately the Vatican ought to be working to lead people to Jesus Christ and salvation, and that’s what the Church is supposed to do,” said Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), a hawkish defender of Israel.
So ... Republicans get to use religion as a political club, but actual religious leaders should stay the hell out. We've got Texas Republicans trying to block marriage equality from being enacted, whatever the Supreme Court decides. We've got House Republicans passing yet another anti-abortion bill based more on religion than science. We've got an avalanche of bills legalizing discrimination in the name of religious freedom.

Republicans have shown time and time again that they have no problem whatsoever with religion in politics. Now we know how particular they are about whose religion and whose politics. Catholic leaders in politics are fine as long as they're threatening to deny communion to Democrats over abortion, but let a pope talk about economic inequality and poverty and suddenly Republicans discover that they'd really prefer it if religious leaders would keep quiet and let politicians speak for them.

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