Daily Archives: March 5, 2012

Irrigators need to ‘step up’ on saving water

Gov. Sam Brownback deserves praise for his successful effort to change the state’s water policy. Brownback signed two bills today that end the “use it or lose it” practice on groundwater and that allow farmers and ranchers to average out their water use over a five-year period. The administration also has committed to making sure the new rules don’t restrict Wichita’s access to its underground water supply. But whether the new policies result in much reduction in water usage depends on the voluntary actions of irrigators. At the bill-signing ceremony in Garden City, Brownback urged those who have substantial water permits to “step up” on behalf of their children and grandchildren. “I ask you, if you have options, don’t use the water,” Brownback said. “Save it for them.”

Super PACs and ‘personhood’

Five donors accounted for 25 percent of the money that flowed into the presidential race in January, the Washington Post reported. Though liberal billionaire George Soros helped pioneer big spending for Democratic causes, GOP big donors have taken an especially oversize role in the presidential primaries. The political action committees for the remaining four GOP candidates raised more money in January than the candidates’ official campaigns. This has “created a new list of wealthy kingmakers on whom the candidates now depend for their political survival,” wrote Doyle McManus of the Los Angeles Times. “Without gambling tycoon Sheldon Adelson, who (along with his wife) has pumped $10 million into (Newt) Gingrich’s super PAC, the former House speaker would be back on the lecture tour. Without money from Wyoming investor Foster Friess, (Rick) Santorum never would have made it to the top of the polls. And without his own short list of financiers led by Texas’ Harold C. Simmons, (Mitt) Romney wouldn’t have had the resources to fight off their attacks.” Meanwhile, Kansas Democratic lawmakers are introducing a resolution in the Legislature urging Congress to pass a constitutional amendment to abolish “corporate personhood,” which was created by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. “Corporations don’t live and breathe or go to war or rebuild after tornadoes,” said Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka. “They are simply not people and do not deserve the same rights as people.”

Huelskamp’s gotcha on Gitmo

Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Hutchinson, told Defense Secretary Leon Panetta something he didn’t know in a House hearing Wednesday, according to the Daily Caller: “Did you know that apparently federal taxpayers are paying for a $750,000 soccer field at Gitmo? Is that something that the Department of Defense knew about?” Huelskamp asked Panetta, who first said “I’m sorry, what was that?” and then said he wasn’t aware of the project at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba. Huelskamp’s problem would seem to be with government spending rather than with sports, though. He plays on the Hill’s Angels, a congressional basketball team that beat the Georgetown Law School faculty and staff 50-47 in a charity game later that night.