Daily Archives: March 1, 2010

Grim revenue numbers mean more cuts coming

budgetcutThough Gov. Mark Parkinson and legislative leaders still need to analyze exactly why state revenue collections in February were $71 million below estimates, the state may need to make even more budget cuts before its fiscal year ends on June 30. Also, next year’s budget gap will be even bigger than earlier estimates of about $400 million. Already, Parkinson is prudently backing away some from his opposition to additional budget cuts. As House Speaker Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, said, February’s revenue shortfall is a budget “game-changer.”

Roberts’ reputation forever tainted?

robertsleftVanity Fair blogger Andrew Cohen thinks the CIA document indicating that then-Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., assented to the destruction of waterboarding tapes (which Roberts’ office denies and the CIA now discounts) and blocked a congressional probe of Bush interrogation techniques “will forever taint his reputation and ought to lead to its own investigation.” Cohen suggests that if Roberts had let an inquiry proceed in 2003, it might have prevented the Abu Ghraib prison abuses “or any of the other public-relations disasters America’s image suffered during those long years.” Cohen also notes that Roberts now supports congressional proposals to block funding of civilian trials of terror suspects. “The man who wouldn’t lift a congressional finger to investigate when American officials were torturing suspects and destroying evidence now is ready to lift sand to stop a perfectly reasonable and acceptable way to prosecute terror suspects.”

Open thread 3/1


Brownback’s basketball diplomacy

basketballSen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., a strong and sober voice on the genocide in Darfur, offered a not-so-sober suggestion regarding a crisis brewing over the control of the enclave South Sudan. Foreign Policy blog described a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing last week with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in which Brownback lamented that South Sudan’s government can’t get attention in the United States or a meeting with President Obama. “I even urged them, I’ve said, ‘Why don’t you get a basketball team together and start traveling America with the southern Sudanese?’ It’s Dinka tribe-dominated — and they’re very tall,” Brownback said. “They’ve got 10 guys over 7 feet tall playing basketball in southern Sudan. So I’m saying just show up. You may get beat by 40 points, but everybody is going to say, ‘Where did these guys come from?’”
Clinton’s response was “Mm-hmm,” and that, yes, the Dinka tribesmen of southern Sudan are in fact “very tall.”

Late-night laughs

The health care summit went on “for a little more than six hours, which, coincidentally, happens to be exactly the average wait time at the emergency room if you were to go in with something bleeding.” — Jimmy Kimmel

“It’s a great day for former Vice President Dick Cheney, who was released from the hospital. He’s doing well. Doctors say he’ll be up and shooting lawyers in no time.” — Craig Ferguson