Tuesday, 7/27/10, Public Square

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Filed under The Public Square

39 responses to “Tuesday, 7/27/10, Public Square

  1. I have a lot of questions — actually, now that I think about it I always have waaay more questions than answers. I’ll bet you guys frequently wonder if I am ever gonna learn anything and if not why the hell don’t I just shut up.

    This morning’s newspaper used a new Census Bureau report, “Survey of Government Spending,” to show where Kansas falls in revenue (property tax, sales tax, income tax) and spending (higher education, highways, parks & recreation) when compared with other states.

    http://www.kansas.com/2010/07/27/1420281/where-kansas-ranks-in-taxes-and.html

    My first question was why did they choose those three spending categories, and what were all the categories? Oh, and I had to take note that the District of Columbia has the highest spending for parks and recreation. Well, duh! All those monuments, all those public areas…

    When I dug into the article I found a few more categories for revenue and spending on page 7A. There I learned either no one buys alcoholic beverages in Wyoming or they don’t tax them as the state has 0.0% revenue compared to the U.S. average of 0.3% and the Kansas figure showing 0.6% of our revenue coming from taxes on alcoholic beverages, ranking our state 6th. Does being 6th out of 51 in percentage of revenue collected from taxes on alcoholic beverages tell us we’re doing a lot of drinking or that tax is high or a combination of heavy drinking and high taxes?

    Where DC had the highest spending on parks and recreation they come in at 51st (the lowest!) on spending for elementary / high school education. This may indicate they aren’t taking many field trips to see all those monuments and parks. Could easily indicate something else too.

    Are you beginning to see how my mind wanders and fidgets and doesn’t stay focused? I read this article and end up with more questions than answers. If I hadn’t read any of it I would never have wondered about the many parts left unanswered.

    • wicked

      fnord, you think too much. LOLOL

      I, on the otherhand, think too little. 😉

    • I think about things that don’t need to be thought about, and tie myself in knots where I miss most of what needs attention. My mind meanders, wanders, fidgets and gets off track! 😦

      • tosmarttobegop

        Oh yeah, well when was the last time you wasted three day thinking about and analyzing why dogs lift their leg to pee? All to come up with an answer as to why your female dog was doing it!

  2. Back to this spending and revenue collected report that compares the states…

    Higher Education — Kansas spends a lot and is ranked 9th. Is this enough, too little, too much? How many people are we educating? How many stay in Kansas and use the knowledge here in the state? Is the expenditure a value for the money?

    And now, totally away from that report but staying with education, I have heard that our once highly acclaimed Engineering School at Wichita State University doesn’t graduate many North Americans. In fact, I’ve heard we North Americans are lacking sufficient students with an interest in and knowledge of mathematics to complete engineering degrees. India seems to have a higher number of citizens earning their engineering degrees in American schools (which remember are using our revenues which mostly come from taxes).

    Where do these foreign students who are educated in American schools take their knowledge and skills? Back home it seems. And then you know what? Not just because it might cost less but because that’s where the skills needed are located, American companies take their jobs to India too. In fact, it often doesn’t cost less because these Indian engineers know they can charge as much as the market allows since they have little competition. Think on that for a bit!

    Now, when these foreign exchange students graduate do we offer them a green card? No, we don’t, we tell them their student visa is expired and they need to go home. Shouldn’t we get something more from our investment of education dollars? Shouldn’t we not only give them that green card but maybe even require they work inside the U.S. for a time as further payment for their education?

  3. Meet the Billionaire Brothers Funding the Right-Wing War on Obama
    They’re the 9th richest people in America and they’re pushing hard to upend President Obama’s progressive agenda.

    http://www.alternet.org/news/144455/meet_the_billionaire_brothers_funding_the_right-wing_war_on_obama?page=entire

    • Be sure you keep in mind that both Pompeo and Tiahrt are bought and paid for by these two billionaires.

    • wicked

      Why am I not surprised?

    • Does anyone know if either of the brothers have children that are active with these organizations? Will the Bircher legacy continue after they are both gone?

      • indypendent

        The Birchers have been around for a long time and I doubt if the children of billionaires are really that interested in ‘rocking that boat’.

        What is it about a lot of money that turn too many people into some sort of sub-species of human?

      • Let’s just say there’s a line of succession in place, not necessarily direct family, who will “carry on the fight”.

  4. tosmarttobegop

    Fnord kind of like the saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”.
    Too often the concept of wasteful spending is defined by the personal idea as to what is waste and what is worth the cost.

    D.C. and the difference between spending on park and education is reflective of what they idea is making money. Within a couple of miles of the parks and the Capital there are people living in the same conditions as the survivors of the earth quake in Haiti.

    Have you ever been to Galveston TX.?
    There is another example of it, I was there and though warned not to.
    I went a few blocks away from the sea wall and on side streets rather then the main thruway used by the tourist to get to the beach.

    OMG, it was like suddenly being dropped in a war zone or after a bombing attack in WWII. Building crumbling and streets littered with bricks and trash. The people living there peeking out from beside building and standing in door less thresholds.

    Within a few blocks of bright and well maintain hotels and shops.

    When I come to Wichita I see those works of art and think who thought that was art and how much a waste of city money there are.

  5. tosmarttobegop

    Some of the things that are sacred cows to the Federal Government of both parties is out there and unexplainable. When the subject of cutting spending they bring up Medicare, S.S., welfare. But never the actual ridicules spending on things that costs millions of dollars yet are unnecessary and wasteful spending.

    Things that the general public often never hear of.

    Which is wasteful spending and which is not a waste?
    8 billion dollars a year on maintaining property that is not used or having any intention of using. Or 8 billion dollars spent on education and infrastructure?

    • indypendent

      Right-wingers do not even know the difference between Medicare and Social Security.

      Medicare is nothing more than a government-subsidized health insurance program.

      Social Security is a program that our earnings qualify us to received benefits when we reach retirement age.

      When I challenge right-wingers to abolish Medicare they will always retort by saying – but I paid into Medicare and that is mine.

      To which I reply – that is a Medicare tax – not money going towards your health care when you need it.

      Think of the Medicare tax like I think of my taxes that George W. Bush spent on his Iraq War. That money is gone and I had no say in whether he took the tax or not.

      But, we are talking about right-wingers here so facts are not exactly their friends.

    • WSClark

      Thank you for the link, Fnord, and thank you Paula for the excellent piece on Kansas Free Press.

      Also, Paula, thank you for indirectly introducing me to Kansas Free Press!

      • Thanks, WS. It came from the heart.

        For everyone here, Kansas Free Press is always looking for more writers. Pam Pohly has been very kind. When I signed up there, I intended to write a lot more often than I did, but we here all know how life can throw you for a loop. She has been very patient with me. If any of you are the least bit interested, you should definitely check into it. They are on Facebook, so you get a little more circulation than you might on your own private blog.

    • prairie pond

      Wow, Paula, that is really beautiful. And it so sums up why we loved Iggy so dearly. The loss of him is something I dont think any of us will ever get over. We may get better over time, but there will always be an empty spot at the table where his place was set.

      Thank you for writing that. And thanks for being one of us, here at PPP. Dont forget us when you are rich and famous 🙂

      Fnord, reading at the link you posted on the homo thread, I miss Steven even more. He totally “got it” why marriage equality is so important.

      Iggy really didnt like us to just post links, but I think this discussion over at Crooks and Liars sums up how I feel about the “incrementalists” amongst us. And that goes for all liberal and progressive issues.

      http://crooksandliars.com/taxonomy/term/15107

      • Will we ever know if Obama “sucks less than what the Republicans will do when they get back in power”? Will it be another question like where would our economy be without the stimulus package? If the Republicans regain power and ‘undo’ anything the opponents may have accomplished and this goes on back and forth I guess we will always know where we stand. Still. Yes, we will stand still. If that’s even possible. Somehow I think if you don’t move you don’t stand still, you eventually wobble and maybe fall down. Maybe that’s preferable to sideways?

        Some days it’s more difficult to be a Pollyanna.

      • Thanks, Prairie Pond. Completely off the subject, I was in downtown Lawrence a couple of Fridays ago and saw a bead shop named Prairie Pond and wondered if you were connected to that in any way?

        The link you posted sums up the rift in the Democratic Party perfectly. It didn’t start after Obama, though. I experienced some of those very accusations being hurled at me on Daily Kos years ago. The general tone is that I am unrealistic because I expect politicians to do the right thing and to fight to make it so. The truth is that Obama and the Democratic Party squandered a once-in-a-generation chance to force the kind of change that Obama promised to deliver. Politics as usual is the culprit.

        I AM a realist–not an idealist. If the right can force draconian measures like torture, the left can force changes that actually help the populace and forward the common good. And it’s the supposed realists that are delusional–twisting themselves into pretzels to justify and rationalize the politics as usual and half-measures that always seem to doom the Democrats.

    • tosmarttobegop

      Yes a wonderful tribute, he passing did come as a shock and his efforts were renewing and needed.

  6. Enough crying. I thank you very much for remembering Steven, Paula. It took a while to quit crying — ’cause I just plain miss him a lot, but it was nice to read how he touched your life. Some days I read back through PPP threads to remember what he shared with all of us.

    Will, you should contribute over at KansasFreePress — you are a good writer and deserve a wider audience.

    • fnord, sorry to open half-healed wounds. I have had less time to work through this since I found out much later than everyone else and I really wanted to honor him.

      I agree completely that Will should contribute to KFP. There are others here that should consider it as well.

  7. Here is a good laugh. If you find bad language offensive you’ll want to only watch the first half, it gets pretty down and dirty later.

    • wicked

      I WANT AN ISLAND!!!!

    • wicked

      Priceless! And I’m still laughing.

    • This is hilarious! I have seen it several times now. My sister told me that the person that created this video actually works for Best Buy and was nearly fired for posting this on YouTube.

      I don’t know if that is true or not, but I see the truth in the video itself, for sure!!

  8. Anyone who doubts America is a CORPocracy and our tax system shields BIG business —

    “BP said Tuesday it plans to seek a $10 billion tax credit from the U.S. government because the company has lost so much money from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/27/AR2010072704437.html

      • indypendent

        And let’s not forget that BP has many ongoing government contracts, so it is not like they are going broke.

        Is BP the British version of Halliburton?

    • indypendent

      I wonder how many Republicans will be lining up to apologize to BP for having to file to take that $10 billion credit from the US taxpayers?

      I guess it’s a good thing Obama got at least that $20 billion from them – huh?

  9. indypendent

    I just read on Huffington Post blog where PA Gov Rendell was on the Morning Joe show and said something to the effect that Obama might face a challenger from the Democrats in 2012 if he escalates the Afghanistan war.

    Has anyone heard this?

    I heard about the Wikileaks documents yesterday but I have not had time to really do any research about the whole thing yet. The only thing I did get from yesterday’s news was that Pakistan is playing both sides of the fence.

    And who did not know this before now? I mean, seriously.

    • tosmarttobegop

      LOL I do like the White house’s response something to the effect of:
      This in not news… If you did not already know it is a screwed up and un-winnable situation.
      Where the heck have you been?

      Though the claim that they had changed the goals and course rings like if I said pulling out of my driveway and turning left was not working as well I thought it would. So now I am pulling out of my driveway and turning left!

  10. I didn’t hear this one, but I’ve read several accounts of Democratic challengers — sometimes it’s Hillary.

    I get real tired of the ‘news’ speculations and most of the time I doubt they have any better sources than you or me. They get more attention if it’s spectacular.

    Isn’t it pretty easy in July of 2010 to say Obama might face a challenger from the Democratic Party? He might also face a challenger from the Republican Party. And it might be __________! 😉

    • indypendent

      As you may remember, I proposed a scenario last week or the week before of ‘what if Obama chose to not run for re-election’.

      But I have never thought of the scenario of Obama having a primary challenger.

      How many times has that happened? I can only remember of when Ted Kennedy did it and that was in 1980 against Carter?

      Am I thinking correctly about this?

      • tosmarttobegop

        Yes he did, it did not work out well.
        Cause a lot of bitter feeling and harmed Carter in his re-election bid.

  11. I don’t know the answer, and I’m still looking. Here’s what I found so far —

    It’s happened several times. Most recently in 1980 when Ted Kennedy challenged the incumbent President Jimmy Carter. Kennedy fought all the way to the convention.

    The last sitting Republican President to be seriously challenged was Gerald Ford in 1976 by . . . future President Ronald Reagan. Reagan also fought all the way to the convention.

    Notably, in both of these cases, the challenged President managed to earn his Party’s nomination but was unsuccessful in the general election.

  12. In 1968, Eugene McCarthy took on President Lyndon Johnson in New Hampshire’s Democratic primary and came close. Two weeks later, Johnson dropped out of the race. Ronald Reagan made a run at stumbling incumbent President Gerald Ford in 1976; Ted Kennedy went after a weakened President Jimmy Carter in 1980; and Pat Buchanan ran against the first George Bush in 1992.

    All three of those most recent forays ended unsuccessfully for the challengers. But all three sitting presidents were dethroned in the general election.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=125662980

  13. tosmarttobegop

    Certainly I have not found a reason he should not have a second term though it might be more a uphill battle then being the first Black president was. In many case things I could point to that are wrong or reasons I do not blame him for. More the Democratic Congress is at fault for that again with being the majority it is not really the Conservatives fault for any of it.

    They are nothing more then a yapping puppy in the room and could not have blocked anything until the increase of the power of their ranks. Mainly because of the death of Senator Kennedy and Bird.

    If I am to fault President Obama for anything it would be his lack of stronger leadership and being too willing to involve the Cons. I think he was mistaken that the party was still that of Reagan.
    To few of them were left and there is a new species of Conservative now.

    There is not equal of Tip O’Neil in the Conservative party as there was for President Reagan in the Democratic party.