Friday, October 23, 2009

Doug Hoffman -- Wave of the Future?

From time to time, we at Kaw & Border like to talk about races in other parts of the country, particularly when the implications of such a race have a profound impact on the political makeup of the nation, and could have long term impact.

This is the case in the 23rd Congressional District of New York, which has been the subject of the the national political buzz this week.

In this race, we have a very liberal Republican -- Dierdre Scozzafava, who has gotten the support of the national Republican party yet holds positions that are well to the left of most Republicans, and is a classic RINO; a liberal Democrat, Bill Owens; and the New York Conservative Party nominee, Doug Hoffman.

What's making this race interesting is that Hoffman has gotten the endorsement of the Club for Growth, Fred Thompson, and now, Sarah Palin. Polls show Hoffman closing in on both the Republican and the Democrat, and there is some indication he has passed Scozzafava.

If he would win in the end -- which is a strong possibility -- it would deal a signficant blow to the national Republican establishment, who increasingly seems to care nothing about what a candidates beliefs are, but simply about whether there is an R in front of that person's name.

A couple of posts ago, we talked about how nominating a moderate Republican is perfectly acceptable in certain situations -- such as STATEWIDE Senate races in Illinois, Delaware, and yes, even New York. But even in New York, where at least Pataki and Guiliani have a strong basis for their Republicanism, we can do better than an open RINO in a right-of-center district like the 23rd, where a conservative can win if given the backing.

It makes no sense to us that in 2010 -- the cycle of the tea parties, town halls, etc..where it is a good thing to be a conservative for once, versus a regular Republican, that the party would nominate people like Scozzafava. Unfortunately, that's just what they did, just like they got behind Crist in Florida, another place a conservative can do well.

If indeed Hoffman is successful -- which we believe is likely given the introduction of Palin, who we feel is a significant political force -- then it could have ramfications for races nationwide, and for the future of the Republican Party in general.

Of course, we have to be cognizant of the fact that New York is unique in that the Conservative Party has strength there. However, it has not successfullly ran candidates for Congress, so this would be a significant upset.

That said, given the recent polls which indicate that now just 20% of Americans identify themselves as Republicans -- which clearly shows that even a lot of Republicans really are just registered that way, but are more and more calling themselves conservatives instead -- a Hoffman victory could be the seed for a real movement towards a third "conservative" party, if the Republican Party doesn't get their act together quickly.

We believe that a "third party" movement for conservatives is less likely to happen in conservative states like in the south, but more likely to happen in states where moderates are the favorite of the party establishment. The key for any "conservative party" to succeed would be to get signficant backing from national figures consistently, such as Fred Thompson or Sarah Palin. That said, we don't feel either will ever get directly involved in third party in such a formal way, but perhaps get increasingly involved in primaries.

And in the end, this is where we believe the focus of conservatives should be. Tea Party folks and traditional conservatives alike should think twice before going down the third party road -- but rather, aggressively seek to DEFINE the term Republican to mean the core values of protecting life, limited government, lower taxes, economic freedom, and individual liberty.

However, what the Hoffman situation -- as well as the Joe Wilson situation in South Carolina -- shows is that the conservative grassroots has the ability to have an incredible impact when they direct their resources to a particular candidate. Joe Wilson raised $2.6 million in just a few weeks. If conservative underdog candidates -- such as Lightner in the 3rd District of Kansas and Turk in the 5th District of Missouri (both seats that the "Republican establishment" have written off) -- were to earn similar support, seats nationwide that were previously seen as safe for Democrats would soon become in play.

Likewise, it is going to be increasingly difficult - and this is also a good thing -- for RINOs to run in primaries if a conservative candidate gets the kind of backing they need by the Wilson/Hoffman effect. We're starting to see this with Chuck DeVore's campaign in California, for instance, who is running against RINO Carly Fiorina. We're seeing it in Florida, where Marco Rubio raised $1 million in the 3rd Quarter against RINO Charlie Christ.

The reason for this new reality of American politics is the internet and social networking sites like Facebook. A simple Sarah Palin Facebook post to her 900K+ supporters can fund a candidate alone. Fred Thompson, Mark Levin, Mike Huckabee, etc...along with groups like Club for Growth, have huge followings on Facebook and can in a few keystrokes direct their troops to support candidates around the country that meet their approval.

Liberals, of course, have done this for years. We saw this is in 2008 right here in our own backyard, when Sean Tevis raised more than $100K against Arlen Siegfreid. He lost, but the race was quite competitive as a result.

Of course, this isn't to say that anyone can win. You still have to have the right kind of profile, experience, and strategy to win or even get that kind of financial grassroots support anyway. That said, if through SarahPAC, FredPAC and other PAC's/Facebook pages/email lists, conservatives start to employ this similar strategy, the days of the establishment in any particular race controlling who runs are over.

Moreover, it is our belief that those in the establishment might want to stop shunning conservatives. While we may not be your favorite guest at your next wine and cheese party, we are where the country is leaning now. Yes, it's okay to be a fiscal conservative. Yes, it's okay to be a social conservative. People simply don't want a zealot -- they want someone principled, driven to run for office because they believe in something.

This is a good thing, in the end. Candidates will no longer be afraid to say they are a conservative. Inside party politics will become less and less important, and those in office will increasingly be held responsible.

So, if you're a candidate for office reading this blog -- don't be afraid to stand up for what you believe. Don't think you have to go the old way and get permission from the party bosses in order to run. Go around them. It's hard work, but the way to win in 2010 is through the grassroots, through standing up for what you believe, and doing so in a confident way.

If you do that, you're eventually going to get noticed, and you'll get the support you need. So be strong, campaign hard, and you might be the next Doug Hoffman.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Kansas Watchdog: Labette CC President Reimbursed for Political Donation?

We like to give credit to other blogs/news sites that cover stories you might not hear about in your local paper. One such case is one of the current headlines at the Kansas Watchdog..."Labette Community College President Reimbursed for Political Donation".

You can read all the details here. Apparently George Knox was reimbursed by the college for a political donation to Dennis McKinney. Hat tip to Kansas Watchdog for covering this story and for bringing it to the attention of those concerned about Open Records and good government.

Kansans overall need to be more watchful of their local governments. Often dominated by those to the left side of political aisle and those in the elite of their communities, they can be breeding grounds for this kind of behavior. Thankfully, one of the LCC Trustees blew the whistle here.

We need more whistle blowers in local government. Even if you are just one of 8 or two of 8, it can make a huge difference when it comes to things like cutting corners on open records, open meetings, and in this case, taxpayer dollars. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and just a voice at the table, however uncomfortable, can make government more honest.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fundraising Numbers - The Rest of the Story

Every quarter, federal candidates rush to get as many donations in as possible for their campaigns. Though not something that matters with the electorate at large, political insiders right and left pay a great deal of attention to them.

In reviewing the reports, it is important to remember a couple of things. First of all, do the campaigns have enough to compete? Second, if it's a new campaign, at one pont in the quarter did their fundraising clearly start, and what pace are they on?

Our view is this: As long as a campaign is on a good pace and/or has enough money to do what they need to do campaign wise, it matters little who outraised who except for bragging rights. The reason is that you have basic political factors such as the ideological makeup of a district, as well as the mere fact that there is only so much money you can spend on advertising, mailings, etc, before you have diminishing returns.

For example, if two candidates for a Congressional seat are running -- and one has $300K and one has $600K, the $300K person will probably be fine as long as his pace is solid. The key is that Candidate A has enough money to accomplish their campaign goals. So, political watchers should beware of taking too much out of reports, particularly in September 2009. The key report will be on July 15 of 2010 for the primary and October 15, 2010 for the general.

With that being said, here are some notables:

US Senate Race
Jerry Moran had over $3.1 million cash on hand coming in, and raised another $520,000 according to an email. Todd Tiahrt had $1.5 million coming in, and his campaign has yet to release figures.

This is a good example of not putting too much of a story into the gap. Assuming that Tiahrt raises a good amount of money in the 3rd Quarter as well, he has plenty of money to run a great campaign. Moran is more of the establishment candidate, so it is not surprising he has more money. Tiahrt is more of the grassroots candidate, but he has plenty of money to run in a low-media market state like Kansas, particularly in the primary cycle.

We believe this race will be decided not in what money these candidates have -- as they both have plenty, but in how well that money will be spent -- messaging, grassroots, etc. We'll see!

1st Congressional District
Tim Huelskamp announced the other day he had raised an impressive $181,000, which will add onto the $235K he had coming in. His website indicates he has almost $380K on hand, plenty (particularly with two more quarters to follow) to do everything he needs to do in a primary election, which is the race in the Big First. The other reports are not announced yet, but from our vantage point, Huelskamp clearly is in the drivers seat here -- this is a case of a district having an idelogical makeup that clearly favors Huelskamp, and given his strong grassroots conservative support, he has plenty of money to continue as the clear front runner.

3rd Congressional District
This is a completely different situation than the Senate or Big First races, as no candidates had done ANYTHING as of June 30 -- versus candidates in other races who are either long time incumbents or who have been in the race since the beginning of the year or before. In this quarter, we had Patricia Lightner, who entered the race in late August, as well as two other candidates, John Rysavy and Daniel Gilyeat, who have been out for about two months a piece.

So, in these cases one can't look at the overall number because the candidates have only been out for, in some cases, two to three weeks with any kind of fundraising operation or even a campaign, period. This is a case where one has to look deeper at the report for the real story.

In this case, looking at the current frontrunner, Patricia Lightner, what you can see is quite impressive. She got in the race with a website in late August, and as we've discussed on this blog, at least 15 candidates have been rumored, and it was unclear who was going to run and not run. It also takes time to get any kind of fundraisinge opeartion going.

Still, in that environment, she raised $35,000. More specifically, when you look at her report, you see that the vast majority of her contributions came in the last week of September, just as the race was beginning to define itself. She raised about $16,000 in individual contributions (plus the $18,500 she put in herself), and a quick look at her report shows at least 75-80% of those were in the last week. If you extrapolate it out over a full quarter, that is just slightly behind Huelskamp, who is probably the high water mark for conservative candidates. As the race continues to define itself and as people stop saying "its early", her pace could very well pick up and she will be at a good pace to compete with Moore.

Trailing her was John Rysavy, who had about $10K on hand, and had loaned $8500 to himself. Gilyeat has yet to file, as of the time of this email.

In a subsequent email, we'll examine the situation in the 4th District, where Raj Goyle has apparently raised $400,000 as a Democrat in a seat perceived as safe, and where at least 5 Republicans are running -- as well as in the 2nd, where Laura Kelly just recently announced she is running against Lynn Jenkins, who has a fiscally conservative voting record but is mixed on social issues.

In all of these reports, it's always best to see one, the pace the candidate is on; two, do they have enough to compete; three, when they entered the race. That's more important than simply looking at overall numbers and comparing candidates.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Politics of Realism

In case it wasn't already clear to you, Kaw & Border is a believer in the conservative movement. We believe in such things as lower taxes, limited government, empowering the individual, the right to life, and the rule of law -- and we believe in promoting those principles wherever possible, and making the term "Republican" actually mean something again other than a mere label for a political party.

In that same spirit, we also believe in electing conservative candidates to public office and giving them the support necessary to win. Not supporting these candidates will mean the causes we are fighting for will never be implemented. We've talked enough about great candidates on this blog to make this abundantly clear -- you have to win elections in order to win the battle on policy.

In trying to achieve these two noble goals, it is also important we also remember the old axiom to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good -- or in the case of some, letting the good be the enemy of the perfect. It is important that as conservatives, as activists, as candidates -- we stay focused on the game at hand -- in the words of Hank Stram, "Let's matriculate the ball down the field, boys."

Politically speaking, that means rather than attempting hail mary passes, we should focus on continuing to make short but steady gains, and in the process, setting realistic and achievable goals both in terms of fielding candidates and pushing for certain policies. While this requires patience, this strategy, over time, results in the same finale we're all looking for -- better policies, better politicians, and, as a side benefit, it also makes longer term "dreams" more achievable as well.

One would think this concept would be simple to grasp on the surface. However, while most of the consequences in this era of "Facebook politics" are positive, one challenge can be that sometimes groups or individuals become so driven and so passionate about the trees that they forget to see the forest -- i.e., they demand perfection on an issue or in a candidate, and they end up, either intentionally or not, vilifying those who are not perfect, and end up undermining quality candidates who they are in philosophical agreement with on 95% of the issues.

As Ronald Reagan once said, "the person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally — not a 20 percent traitor."

We call it the Politics of Realism -- i.e., in our pursuit of noble conservative goals, making sure we stay focused on goals that are achieveable, and not vilifying those who not perceived as perfect and/or disagree on the nuances of a particular policy.

Specifically, we at Kaw & Border have noticed a few trends lately that concern us, both when it comes to politics as well as policy:

One of the most active grassroots organizations are those who support the FairTax. Now, don't get us wrong -- we believe the FairTax supporters have every right to push their issue. However, one trend we have noticed among them is the direct criticism of candidates who have not yet endorsed their particular idea for tax reform. One email forwarded to Kaw & Border criticized a local Congressional candidate for simply studying the issue...God forbid.

Many conservatives support tax reform in general, but may not support the FairTax for one reason or the other -- and those that fall into that category shouldn't be treated like they are no different than a tax-and-spend Democrat. Browbeating candidates who support tax reform but aren't quite on board with one version of it is not a way to achieve victory nor win the support of those who are legitimately on the fence on the issue.

Finally, whether one agrees with the FairTax or not -- and conservatives have legitimate opinions on both sides of that coin (we won't get into that here)-- it is not likely to be implemented anytime soon. The reason is that it would require a repeal of the 16th Amendment in order to prevent a tax on both income and consumption. Such a repeal would require a 2/3 majority in Congress and then 3/4 of the states. Even if Republicans were to have control of Congress, getting to those numbers is a very difficult task.

What is achievable is getting to a majority in Congress of those who believe in tax reform period -- whether it be significant tax reductions, simplification of the tax code, or even a flat tax -- proposals that move the ball closer to what the FairTax people want. And, it could be that when such ideas are implemented, people are happy with it and that slows support for the FairTax -- and it could be that's what they fear.

The fact is the FairTax idea has been being pushed for over a decade, despite the fact the FairTax folks are a very dedicated, largely conservative full of passionate individuals who spend many hours devoted to their cause. Perhaps if that energy was devoted to tax reform in general and supporting candidates who are legitimately committed to tax reform, they might find their ball getting advanced quicker than it is now.

On a political level, we also see this demand for perfection playing out as well.

Take the battle for the U.S. Senate. There are only a certain number of seats available -- and four of them - Connecticut, Illinois, Delaware, and New York -- are legitimately open for the taking like they haven't been for Republicans in literally a generation. However, in each case -- due to the makeup of each state -- the likely Republican nominee will be someone quite moderate. In Connecticut, Rob Simmons. In Illinois, Mark Kirk. In Delaware, Mike Castle. And in New York, George Pataki.

Let us be clear -- Simmons, Kirk, Castle, and Pataki are not our kinds of Republicans. And, if they were running in Texas, Alabama, Florida, and Kansas, we wouldn't support their candidacies. But they aren't. And most importantly, they could all legitimately take the seats that are or were recently held by Chris Dodd, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton. The psychological impact of taking all these seats -- combined with likely conservative takeovers in Colorado (Bennett), Arkansas (Lincoln), Nevada (Harry Reid), and Pennsylvania (Specter)-- would be a political earthquake that we have not seen before.

Yet, a simple trip down conservative blogs and grassroots sites reveals a great deal of sniping at the candidates in those four seats, even though there is no realistic conservative choice in any of them that could prevail in November. This sniping, if it continues, could have a bad effect on Republicans ability to make gains in Congress.

Our point is this -- in states that are to the hard left of American politics - there is nothing wrong with supporting candidates who are even 60% with us -- over those who are on the opposite side of everything we believe in.

At a local level, we also have to be careful. There are a lot of conservatives quite upset with Senator Sam Brownback, who is running for Governor. Go to any tea party or conservative website and you'll see the criticisms. To be sure, Sam's record isn't perfect, and there are legitimate reasons to criticize him.

However -- Sam Brownback represents the first time in Kansas history for a conservative to be elected Governor. He is, unquestionably, a pro-life, pro-lower tax, pro-limited government, pro business Republican who would likely support judicial reform, budget reform, and the enforcement of our state's abortion laws.

Yet, what's happened in the past few months is that Sam's numbers have dropped below 50%. He is now at just a 48% approval rating...a probably safe yet dangerous number, if Democrats actually had a candidate. Though this alarmingly low number is not exclusively due to the constant doubt about Sam that is out there, and though perhaps Sam himself could do more to address it, the point is that the constant drumbeat of doubts has an effect, right when we as conservatives should be the most excited and rallying behind him. If someone has an issue with Sam's strategy, that's fine -- but there is way too much "bash Sam" talk out there for this blog, for pretty shaky reasons.

Finally, in the 3rd District race, we've pointed out regularly on this blog about the constant speculation about potential candidates, while a passionately conservative candidate -- Patricia Lightner, who has the personal profile to appeal to a large cross-section of voters necessary to win -- continues to campaign her butt off throughout the district.

Lightner, in some folks eyes, is not their ideal choice...a view of Facebook posts and on some websites reveals talk about how though they love her on the issues, they don't like the fact she's a lawyer, or was a lobbyist, or that she doesn't give fiery speeches....so they go off on a never-ending search for "St. Perfect Candidate".

In our eyes, as we've said before, Lightner is a great candidate -- conservative yet independent, outspoken yet not in your face, strong yet thoughtful, principled yet respectful. She may not be perfect for one reason or the other, but no candidate is -- not other state legislators, not a certain radio talk show host, and certainly not a local newspaper publisher.

That's to say she doesn't have faults. Every candidate does. But the point is this search for the perfect eventually harms the good -- the cause we are all fighting for at the end of the day -- which is defeating Dennis Moore with a conservative candidate. The fact is, in most races, candidates have been out for nearly the entire year, building support, organization, and funds. In the 3rd District, potential candidates have had MONTHS to get in the race, yet only Patricia Lightner, Daniel Gilyeat, and John Rysavy have done so.

It's mid-October, folks, and the election is not all that far away -- and there comes a point where energy is better spent on helping the candidate who has been in the race for months and is already walking -- versus putting together petitions in an attempt to convince candidates who aren't in the race to simply think about running, let alone put together the massive campaign necessary to win a Congressional race.

While this desire for perfection is understandable in the light of so many failures of people in public office, and may be driving the desire to find those outside of the political arena, we should not let it cloud our overall judgment when it comes to realistically achieving our aims...particularly when those efforts could end up splitting the votes of those conservatives, thus opening the door for a Pat Colloton to get in.

These are just three examples of where the conservative movement may want to adjust its intensity-meter. Let's not forget that the only way we'll ever achieve our aims is to actually win elections. Winning elections is not easy -- it requires months of careful planning and a great deal of momentum and enthusiasm. Winning elections also means electing human beings to public office, not robots who simply respond to commands, but to persuasion and reasoned arguments. That's how you win on policy, and that's how this country ends up being better than it was before we got started.

Achieving victory on both politics and policy will be built through realistic aims, goals, and the unity of those who agree on 90% of the issues, focused on the election of those who are not perfect, even if we'd like them to be.

Let's not let the 10% destroy us.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Did the Johnson County Sun Fire Its Editors?

Since our inception, we at Kaw & Border have not been easy on the good ol' Johnson County Sun, particularly its publisher, Steve Rose. The local rag, which is now mailed to homes in an attempt to force people to read it, has declined sharply in quality and in impact over the years, save local city elections, when the 9% of people who actually vote still rely on the Sun for information, largely becuase it's sadly one of the only sources covering Spring elections.

Unlike many in Johnson County who do not receive it, we at Kaw & Border do, and given our interest in the 3rd District race, took particular interest in this article, entitled "Several folks still eyeing 3rd District Congressional Race." We'll skip right on by the odd use of "folks" in a newspaper headline and move straight to the content of the article, written by Chuck Kurtz:

This is quite possibly the worst piece of journalism ever written.

In this instance, it wasn't because the piece was slanted to the left, or even to the right. It wasn't because it didn't have some decent quotes and information -- it did. The problem is that it was horribly written, completely ignored some candidates, undermentioned one candidate, and over-covered people who the article even admits aren't even running, while ignoring another one who is seriously considering it. The end result was that it didn't provide readers with actual information about what is going on in the race.

Let's start off with the fact the article only briefly touched on the one major candidate who is actually running (as we've talked about here a few times) and that is Patricia Lightner. Here is the excerpt:

With the Republican primary less than a year away, the names of possible contenders to challenge 10-year Democratic incumbent Dennis Moore for the 3rd District congressional seat are numerous.

So far, only one is for sure: former State Rep. Patricia Lightner, R-Olathe, who lived in Overland Park when she served in Topeka from 1998 to 2004. She filed with the Federal Election Commission last August to seek the Republican candidacy to go against Moore.

She considers herself the front-runner.

“At this point, I’m the primary candidate,” she said. “I’m the one, I believe, that has the most qualification, the most experience.”

What's hilarious, though, is Kurtz's sentence after the Lightner quote:

"If she (Lightner) is the only one to file, the 2010 election will be Nov. 2."

Um, actually, Chuck, even if 20 people file, the 2010 election will still be November 2.

Moving away from that awful writing, while there was nothing particularly unfair to Lightner herself in the above quotes/description (who we support at this blog), what is just completely untrue is that she is the only candidate actually running. As Lightner herself mentions by saying "I'm the one..that has the most qualifications, the most experience...", there are actually two other candidates in the race -- John Rysavy and Daniel Gilyeat, both of whom have been campainging for several weeks. No mention at all. Not only is that disrespectful to Gilyeat, a man who has served his country with absolute bravery, it is an outright disservice to the readers of the Sun by not providing them information about two candidates, who at this point, appear that they are definitely running.

What's even worse though, is, that the rest of the article then covers a bunch of candidates who are either out of the race or appear unlikely to get in the race. Depsite it's headline of "Several candidates still eyeing the race", from the Sun's own reporting, "several" seems to mean only two -- Kevin Yoder, who appears to be backing away from the race given his quotes, and Pat Colloton. Both Jeff Colyer and Nick Jordan said they are NOT candidates.

What's even more bizarre is that the article gives several large quotes to moderates Yoder and Colloton, despite the fact they are not in the race and may never be, while only providing one to Lightner, who is in the race and has been aggressively campaigning for weeks, including appearaces on radio interviews, the airing of radio ads, appearances in several campaigns, and other significant campaign activity. One would think that the readers would like to know more about the candidates actually running.

Not only that, it provides more freaking ink to Bob Vancrum than actual candidates in the race. No offense to Vancrum, a former State Senator from the early 1990's, but what exactly qualfiies him to be an expert on the 3rd District race in 2010? Well, let's look to the article. He's a "political observer". Huh? Who isn't?

Finally, what's even more ridiculous about the article is that it devoted quite a bit of time to two candidates who are NOT running -- Colyer and Jordan -- than the one potentially signficant figure that is currently actively recruiting "Facebook groupies" to draft her to run -- radio host Darla Jaye.

So, if you're keeping at score at home, this article, which was apparently meant to inform readers about the current status of the 3rd District race, did the following:

- One small quote to someone actually in the race -- Patricia Lightner.
- Several paragraphs and quotes to two candidates who say they are not running -- Jeff Colyer and Nick Jordan.
- Several quotes to a guy from the early 90's no one has ever heard of because he's a "political observer".
- Several paragraphs and quotes to two candidates who may run but aren't in the race yet, depsite 3 months of rumors -- Kevin Yoder and Pat Colloton, who both appear to moving away from running.
- Absolutely zero space to two candidates in the race -- John Rysavy and Daniel Gilyeat.
- Absolutely zero space to the one potential candidate actually visibly considering running -- Darla Jaye.

Way to inform your readers there, Chuck. Did the Johnson County Sun fire its editors? One would think someone there would notice the vast holes in the article. Oh, well.

Thankfully, there were a couple interesting things to gain from reading it, if you read closely:

- Liberals Pat Colloton, Kevin Yoder and conservatives Nick Jordan and Jeff Colyer all agree on one thing -- Dennis Moore is too liberal. What we found amazing,however, is that there is actually room to the left of Pat Colloton. Who knew?

- The article subtly echoes the point we made in our post from a couple days ago -- "Patricia Lightner vs. ?". While all the background chatter continues, while all the ghosts continue to spook each other out of the race, there is still just one major candidate out there actually talking to voters -- Patricia Lightner.

And those two points are the ones Sun readers may want to take away from the article most of all.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A great new resource: Kansas Watchdog

Kansans concerned about honest government and obtaining information that is hard to find elsewhere now have an outstanding new resource: Kansas Watchdog.

A simple trip to this site will explain what we mean: http://kansas.watchdog.org/

Well organized, well done, great information. First class all the way around.