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The nation will get a good measure today of the breadth of the fear and loathing of congressional incumbents and establishment candidates, as voters decide key Democratic Senate primaries in Pennsylvania and Arkansas and a GOP one in Kentucky. The supporters of the Democrats trying to oust Sens. Arlen Specter (in photo) in Pennsylvania and Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas and the tea partisans behind Rand Paul in Kentucky all “think they need to elect people who are going to be louder, more ideologically motivated and more confrontational,” said political analyst Stuart Rothenberg. Concluded Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne: “The Democrats will remain an intricate coalition that struggles to hold together the left, the center and bits of the right. Republicans, as Arlen Specter could tell you, are the ones opting for ideological purity.”
The Legislature did the public radio and TV stations and their listeners a disservice in slashing $900,000 in state funding in the middle of the night near the session’s end — with no discussion or opportunity for broadcasters to defend the funding. The out-of-the-blue amendment by state Rep. Virgil Peck, R-Tyro, forced House members to choose between public stations and veterans — a tight spot in an election year, and something that deserved thorough discussion. If Gov. Mark Parkinson has the ability to rescind the cut with a line-item veto, he should. What’s a painful bite out of the budgets of urban stations such as KMUW and KPTS in Wichita will be a debilitating blow to the rural stations that serve so much of the state.
With each city that settles its jail fees dispute with Sedgwick County, as Haysville did last week for 32 percent of what it owed, Wichita surely feels more pressure to end the impasse over its own bill, which was $8.2 million as of May 4. It’s too bad that the county had to resort to punitive means in 2008 to get the cities to moderate their use of the jail for municipal inmates. But a March court decision is on the county’s side, as is the ongoing need to get a handle on jail crowding. Wichita needs to settle its debt soon and move on.
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