Daily Archives: Sept. 16, 2013

Ugly comments don’t represent American values, Miss Kansas

Theresa Vail (in photo) did a great job representing Kansas in this year’s Miss America pageant, winning the online “America’s Choice” vote to advance as a semifinalist. It’s a shame she has been mentioned in some ugly comments about Miss New York Nina Davuluri, the first contestant of Indian heritage to win the title. Todd Starnes, a Fox News radio host, tried to politicize the pageant by tweeting that “the liberal Miss America judges won’t say this – but Miss Kansas lost because she actually represented American values,” and that “Miss Kansas, a gun-toting, deer-hunting, military veteran was America’s choice – but not the liberal Miss America judges’ choice.”

Getting on a Kansas appellate court takes tenacity

Some of the champions of Caleb Stegall’s nomination to the Kansas Court of Appeals saw political bias in the fact that he was twice passed over by the judicial nominating commission for earlier court openings under the old selection system. But Associated Press’ John Hanna noted it’s common for applicants to those courts to apply multiple times. Appeals Judges Stephen Hill, Steve Leben and Kim Schroeder all were appointed after their 11th applications either for the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court, Hanna wrote. And of the current members of the appellate courts, only Supreme Court Justice Carol Beier, formerly of Wichita, was appointed on her first try. That happened twice to Beier, who was named to the Court of Appeals in 2000 and the Supreme Court in 2003. Hanna also noted that when Stegall was interviewed by the nominating commission for the earlier vacancies, “the commission’s questions touched on the 41-year-old’s relative youth in a pool that included lawyers who’d been practicing twice as long.”

Kansas above average on transparency of school spending

The good news is that Kansas ranked 13th nationally in terms of the transparency of its public education spending, according to a report by the Cato Institute (a libertarian-leaning think tank that advocates for school choice). The not-so-good news is that it received only a C-plus grade. Cato said that the Kansas State Department of Education website was easy to navigate and provided 10 years of expenditure data, but that some of the information lacked detail, including data on total salary expenditures and pensions.