Monday, 4/21/14, Public Square

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24 Comments

by | April 21, 2014 · 6:00 am

24 responses to “Monday, 4/21/14, Public Square

  1. This excerpt from The Kansas City Star was printed in this morning’s Wichita Eagle —

    Kochs – The Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity, like its big-business, social-conservative ally, the American Legislative Exchange Council, is spreading a web of backward-looking legislation that has little to do with liberty and much to do with inciting a social and cultural assault on those who may or may not hold different views than they do. People who teach school in Kansas, for instance, will now likely feel the chilling effect that comes with losing their right to due process. That recently achieved anti-worker swipe by the Legislature was pushed not by parents and educators but by Koch-funded activists. Why are the Kochs misunderstood? Their actions speak louder than their weepy, rhetorical words.

    Kansas City Star

    • wicked

      This whole thing with dumping due process for teachers may mean a turning of the tide. Not only will teachers think twice about voting for Brownback in November, but their spouses, family, and friends may, too.

      Has our tawdry governor signed this bill? The last I heard, he hasn’t, but I don’t see him tossing it in the trash where it and he belong.

  2. Due process – It seems hard to imagine that it is all that difficult to fire a bad teacher. The modest protection offered now seemingly just requires an administrator to go through the same process any other employer should when dealing with a performance issue. If administrators have carefully documented performance failings and demonstrate a good-faith effort to correct them, they shouldn’t have any problem with a hearing officer. This “tenure” for Kansas public school teachers is not some special lifetime job security. It seemingly just is a good employment practice.

    Hutchinson News

    • wicked

      At least I won’t be disappointed. I just saw on Twitter than Brownback plans to sign the bill today. C’est la vie.

  3. There is soooo much really wrong with Kansas! Wonder what Thomas Frank would write today with Brownback and lackeys at the helm?

  4. I really like this 3-minute poem written and read by two girls with such wisdom. Each time I have the honor of experiencing the wisdom that comes from today’s youth, I feel energized, I feel hopeful! The old coots of the world will die and there is great hope they’ll take a whole bunch of their hateful ways with them!

    Awful Religious Stereotypes. Shattered. By Two Girls.

    These two young women were raised to see each as “the other.” But in this powerful performance, they confront and untangle the stereotypes that have worked so hard to keep them apart. Makes me wonder how different the world might be if we all spent a little more time focusing on our similarities.

  5. I wonder how long Americans will continue listening to the radical right’s stupidity, and I’ve decided it can’t be that much longer. I still have my Pollyanna attitude toward my fellow human beings, and most especially for the new crop of voters. I think by 2016 we’re in for a treat! I still have great hope for the 2014 midterms too. Each time the republicans over-step more people hear about it, more people become aware of how far afield from anything ‘good for the people’ they’ve gone.

    Robert Reich asks —

    I would have preferred a single-payer plan, and its roll-out was atrocious, but can we at least give two cheers? The Affordable Care Act is succeeding. Eight million Americans have enrolled, and 35 percent of those signing up through the federal government’s website are under the age of 35. It’s also the largest and most significant redistribution of income from the rich (via a 3.8 percent surtax on capital gains) to the needy (subsidies to the poor, Medicaid expansion, and insurance for those with pre-existing conditions) in decades.

    But Republican candidates backed by Koch-financed advertisements continue to issue lies, distortions, and bizarre fabrications about it. I don’t believe they’ll get away with it over the long term, and certainly not by the 2016 election. But what about this coming November?

    • I think people won’t know how good they had it until it is gone. Agreed with Reich about the problems with ACA. But.. it’s better than the old system we had. If the repukes hold the House and Senate and really do repeal the ACA, people will then realize what they had. Will they care? Probably not enough to vote. There’s always Bud Light and American Idol.

    • wicked

      After 3 tries of getting nowhere on healthcare.gov, I was locked out of the system. I gave up. Part of that was because I couldn’t find the information I needed, thanks our sleazy governor and his legislature. Two calls to facilitators, who could have answered my questions, left me with zilch. So I’ll pay my $95 or whatever, go another year without health insurance, and give it a try again in November, when the marketplace opens for 2015. Kind of sad, since I discovered after researching that I’d pay $0 for insurance.

      • Isn’t there any way to apply on ACA website for those folks who may lose their job-provided health insurance throughout the year?

        Why this limited time period for sign ups?

      • Yes, if a person has changes that affects their health insurance coverage — called a Qualifying Life Event — they may sign up outside the open enrollment period. Hubby is retiring so I’ve investigated this. 🙂

        A change in your life that can make you eligible for a Special Enrollment Period to enroll in health coverage. Examples of qualifying life events are moving to a new state, certain changes in your income, and changes in your family size (for example, if you marry, divorce, or have a baby).

      • As I shared in past few weeks, my daughter is returning to work after maternity leave. She kept her job-provided health insurance once her husband was eligible to get health insurance for them through his job and this was after the open enrollment period last year.

        My daughter asked her benefits contact person if she could keep her health insurance as primary and use husband’s as secondary since she was already 7 months pregnant – thinking that dual coverage would helpful in keeping their out-of-pocket expenses to a minimum. Daughter was told she could keep it AND could cancel it once she returned to work.

        Now that she has returned to work, she has requested to cancel her health insurance through her job and has been told she cannot cancel – under any circumstances – until the open enrollment period which is in November.

        The reason given was because ‘they were grandfathered in and do not have to follow the ACA rules”.

        What a bummer!!!

        So she has to pay $185 every two weeks for insurance she does not want but only kept because she was told (in error, I guess) that she could cancel after the baby was born.

      • As my daughter said through her curse words – isn’t it great that we don’t have government telling us what we can and cannot do with out health insurance.

  6. Yesterday I read an article about what might happen if there is a vacancy on the U. S. Supreme Court. It was full of doom and gloom predictions that the republicans would easily block any nominee President Obama put forth. Seems Supreme Court nominees weren’t included in ending the ‘nuclear option,’ so the prospects of anyone being confirmed by a simple majority aren’t good.

    This was one of the comments to the article I read —

    “Seems like a vacancy on the Supreme Court would just elevate the Court’s composition as an issue in the 2016 presidential election (which would be a great thing politically for the Dems). Dems are also expected to have an relatively easy time retaking (or holding) the Senate in 2016, due to vacancies and turnout.

    So, worst-case scenario: a right-wing Justice dies, the Senate refuses to confirm Obama’s replacement nominee, and the Court deadlocks 4-4 on certain issues (e.g., marriage equality), where it otherwise would have had a five-Justice liberal majority.

    Next worst scenario: a liberal Justice dies or retires, the Senate refuses to confirm Obama’s replacement nominee, and we have two years of a 5-3 right-wing majority on the Court, rather than a 5-4 right-wing majority (which won’t make a difference to the outcome of any of those cases).

    Either way, seems like the politics are ultimately favorable to the Dems. Can you imagine Candidate Clinton campaigning nationally on marriage equality: “Vote for me, and elect a Dem Senate, and the FIRST thing I’ll do as your President is name [LIBERAL JUSTICE X] to the Supreme Court so that we will finally have equality for all in this country!” That would be great, and it would be a political winner. Chad Hill · Alexandria, Louisiana”

    Here is the article —
    http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/04/20/3428794/theres-a-hidden-timebomb-in-the-senate-rules-that-will-go-off-if-a-supreme-court-justice-retires/

    • Those potential SCOTUS vacancies worry me a lot. The current SCOTUS worries me a lot. I don’t think marriage equality is the done deal some of my gay brothers and sisters think it is. We’ve had some great gains recently. Now, I’m just waiting for the backlash that follows those gains.

      • As we have all seen …. we still seem to be fighting over the Civil Rights Act signed by President Johnson in 1964….

        Whatever these old white Republican farts don’t like – there will ALWAYS be that group causing problems somewhere..

  7. Because I am always on the lookout for groups that are both sane and not bought and paid for, I bring this on a group who call themselves “The After Party.” —

    http://www.afterpartyusa.org/news/2014/4/19/the-after-party-occupy-wall-street

  8. We know for sure these crazy tea party types don’t have a clue that Obamacare is a reform that protects consumers and regulates insurance companies. In fact, they mostly think it’s a “takeover of the insurance companies and the economy.” They haven’t a clue!

    (from the link): “Well first of all, you have to understand that the Koch Brothers are not in the insurance business, they’re not in the drug business, and they’re not in the hospital business. This is merely the tool they have unleashed to go after Democrats. If they can get to that position where they can remove Democrats who are concerned about workers’ rights, who are concerned about regulations that protect the environment, and are concerned about financial regulations, then they win! See, nobody ever asks the question: why would the Koch Brothers spend the billion dollars that they have spent on this? Unless you really analyze the end game. The endgame is to use this as the vehicle to create the crazy frenzy, to where they can get the Republican tea party types to go out there and get mad at something that they don’t even understand! In the end, it’s a part of their toolbox. They use this as nothing more than a bludgeon against the Democrats, hoping that they can get in that position where the Koch Brothers have nobody looking over their shoulder! Understand, this is a company that paid $400 million in fines for destroying our environment, $400 million!”

    http://www.demonews.org/watch-the-real-reason-the-koch-brothers-hate-obamacare-revealed/

    • I have seen this guy on MSNBC several times – he makes a lot of sense.

      Maybe that is why CONservative Republicans don’t want to understand this guy – he makes too much sense?

      Or has hit the rotten greedy nail on its pointy little head…

  9. http://t.entertainment.msn.com/glen-campbells-wife-moved-singer-to-care-facility-over-safety-concerns?toc=celebs
    ——
    Just imagine – this family has the financial means to cope with Alzheimers.

    What doe the millions of average working class Americans do when they are faced with the exact same situation?

    Nursing homes are full of Alzheimers patients and often are short-staffed and not able to watch these patients 24/7.

    Then when something happens – the nursing home gets sued but nobody ever addresses the underlying problem…….the disease itself.

    Our country can spend billions on election campaigns – give billions to foreign countries that hate our guts – but we still are fighting over access to health care in this country?

    May God have mercy on our souls.

  10. Asher Bob White

    Kansas’ teachers do not have “tenure”, as such. Tenure is “substantive” job protection. Kansas teachers have “Due Process”. Due process is merely procedural, not substantive. Fnord is correct. To dismiss a teacher the board and administration must demonstrate procedural due process for their action. That’s all. However, boards and administrators do not rely upon said due process, rather they tend to employ threat, intimidation and harassment which tends, then, to destroy their case for due process. It is all a matter of substantive good faith. Boards tend to fail because they think they are in charge and can fire at will. The term tenure is used only by school boards and legislators to prejudice public opinion, i.e., voters, against teacher due process.