Daily Archives: April 23, 2009

Get on with Sebelius vote

Sebelius HHSSenate Republicans have put procedural roadblocks in the way of a confirmation vote Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., had sought today on Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ nomination as secretary of Health and Human Services. Now there’s talk of the vote going into next week, and of 60 votes being needed to overcome a GOP filibuster, according to the Washington Post. The nomination’s problems have been well-publicized, including Sebelius’ underpaid taxes and underreported campaign contributions from Wichita abortion doctor George Tiller. But many of the Kansans of both parties who elected Sebelius to statewide office four times may have trouble recognizing their cautious, middle-of-the-road governor in the portrait painted nationally of an abortion- and socialism-loving tax cheat. Can’t Sebelius supporters Bob Dole, Pat Roberts and Sam Brownback save this nomination from partisan savagery and get it over the finish line?

Moran versus Tiahrt could be tight

moran-tiahrtA new SurveyUSA poll co-sponsored by KWCH, Channel 12, confirmed the conventional wisdom about next year’s GOP primaries for governor and U.S. Senate. In the gubernatorial primary, Sen. Sam Brownback (64 percent) doesn’t face much of a threat for now from Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh (17 percent). And the epic battle between Reps. Jerry Moran (39 percent) and Todd Tiahrt (35 percent) to take over Brownback’s Senate seat could be a photo finish. Still, one of the few gaps between them in the survey of likely GOP primary voters favors Moran: In northeast Kansas, which will be key in deciding between the congressmen from western and south-central Kansas, Moran leads Tiahrt 43 to 20 percent.

Open thread 4/23

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Torture prosecutions up to Justice Department

President Obama was correct to back off a statement by his chief of staff that his administration would not prosecute Bush administration officials who authorized the torture of suspected terrorists. Obama does not have the authority to unilaterally declare that the Justice Department would take no action on possible crimes. That doesn’t mean that Bush officials will or should be prosecuted. But the Justice Department should make that decision based on the facts of the individual cases, not on the desire of Obama to focus on the future instead of the past.

Flint Hills through Left Coast eyes

flinthillsThe Los Angeles Times’ travel staff included Kansas’ Flint Hills in a feature highlighting “underrated places of the world,” paying tribute to their “undulating carpets of green” and advising readers to find a safe place to stop along U.S. 56: “It is here, on a perfect spring day or a crisp autumn afternoon, that you know you have found the heart and soul of bluestem grass country. You will hear nothing but the pure strain of a meadowlark’s song or the sweep of the wind through the grass. You are alone in the quiet. It’s such a non-L.A. moment that you may wish it could last forever.” Fortunately, Kansans get to enjoy that bliss whenever they like.